Airbnb reaches settlement with Aimco over sub-leasing action

US: A lawsuit taken by Apartment Investment and Management Company (Aimco) against Airbnb has been settled before a scheduled trial in Florida.

Aimco, the United States’ largest apartment rental group, wanted to stop the rental platform from listing the company’s apartments on its website, citing a ban on sub-leasing its properties. It filed suit in Florida’s 11th judicial circuit.

However, Tampa real estate attorney Stephen Hachey reacted by expressing his surprise that the suit had been allowed to proceed in the first place.

Hachey told the Florida Record: “I am surprised the judge allowed the lawsuit to proceed because Airbnb is just a website. It should have been dismissed a long time ago.”

Under the landmark 1996 Telecommunications Act, which included provisions designed so that the development of the internet was not hampered unnecessarily, hosts are essentially protected from liability for information published by others on sites.

It is still possible that Aimco could file suit against individual renters, and that sub-leasing and short-term rentals may violate the terms of condominium regulations, according to Hachey.

He said that “the terms of the settlement were not disclosed” and added that this was typical in cases where sites hosting information posted by others are sued.

In a joint statement issued by the two companies after the settlement, the two parties hinted that they might work together in the future.

It read: “Apartment Investment and Management Company (Aimco) and Airbnb jointly announced today a settlement of all their disputes and the dismissal of all litigation between them.

“The parties believe the settlement is in both sides’ best interests. Aimco believes that the parties’ agreement provides Aimco with the ability to control short-term rental activity consistent with its contract and property rights.

“As part of the settlement, Aimco and Airbnb have agreed to meet to discuss opportunities in the multifamily housing industry,” it concluded.