CORRECTED-Airbnb to appear in court - NY Post

Mon Apr 21, 2014 11:00am EDT

(Corrects headline and paragraph 1 to remove reference to a new subpoena)

April 21 (Reuters) - Airbnb, the online home-rental marketplace, will appear in court on Tuesday against New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman regarding website users who illegally rent out apartments, the New York Post reported citing sources.

Nearly two-thirds of New York city apartments recently listed on Airbnb were illegal sublets, according to an affidavit from the state Attorney General's office, the newspaper said.

The affidavit, which is expected to be filed in court on Monday by the AG's office, shows 64 percent of Airbnb's 19,500-plus offerings for Jan. 31 cover an "entire apartment," the NY Post said. (r.reuters.com/sun68v)

More than 200 of the offerings came from just five "hosts," suggesting third parties were renting out pads on behalf of their owners, the newspaper said.

Schneiderman opened an investigation last year into whether hosts on Airbnb, a Silicon Valley venture capital-backed website that lets people put up spare rooms or couches for rent, are breaking a 2010 law that prohibits renters from subletting their room for less than 30 days.

Schneiderman's office first demanded in August that the company turn over records of all Airbnb hosts in New York State. State prosecutors issued a subpoena in October after failing to obtain the records, despite several rounds of negotiations with Airbnb lawyers. Airbnb then went to court to block the subpoena.

A group led by private equity firm TPG Capital Management LP has agreed to invest $450 million in Airbnb, valuing the online home-rental marketplace at $10 billion, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Friday. (Reporting by Supriya Kurane in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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