New York City pushes Guesty for illegal listing information

US: In its continued efforts to limit the presence of illegal listings, New York City officials have been in talks with Israeli property management software company Guesty.

The city brought a lawsuit against Guesty in March, accusing it of focusing on “helping people flout laws against short-term rentals”.

At the time, the lawsuit was filed in a state court in Manhattan as investigators began an investigation seeking evidence and records of illegal rentals being operated in New York. Filed by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office of special enforcement, the suit said the information was needed to “determine the impact of Guesty’s business on New York’s housing market and neighbourhoods”.

According to a filing made on 28 July, the city and Guesty have come to a confidentiality agreement, to allow for city officials to investigate without the company breaking privacy. The Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement demanded records and testimony from the company, ensuring that it will be able to find evidence of illegal activities.

Guesty said that it had not provided information to the city yet but that it had entered into a series of ongoing talks with New York City authorities. The company helps renters manage networks of properties across multiple potential platforms.

A spokesperson for the company said in a statement to The Real Deal: “With the goal of ultimately resolving this matter, Guesty has engaged in discussions with New York City about local short-term rental regulations and to make clear our role. As a step in these ongoing discussions, we entered into a standard confidentiality agreement to ensure that any information provided is protected.”

The city has been attempting to cut down on the number of illegal short-term rentals in the city in order to support its housing market. Current laws rule that any property that is rented out for under 30 days must have its own permit.

New York City settled a major lawsuit with Airbnb as part of its clamping down efforts, which date back to 2018. The terms of the settlement required Airbnb hand over significant amounts of information to the city on a quarterly basis, which some say may cost the company tens of thousands of listings in New York City.