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Aimco Asks Court to Halt Airbnb Activity

Aimco and Airbnb

The REIT asks Airbnb's to halt brokering of short-term rental transactions at four of Aimco's Southern California properties.

Last Wednesday, Apartment Investment and Management Company (Aimco) and four of its subsidiaries today filed a motion for a preliminary injunction in the U.S. District Court in the Central District of California to halt Airbnb's brokering of short-term rental transactions at four of Aimco's Southern California properties. 
The REIT said that this action seeks to alleviate the irreparable harm to those apartment communities and their residents caused by Airbnb's transactions pending the final ruling on Aimco's lawsuit to prohibit Airbnb's participation in the unauthorized subletting of Aimco's apartment homes and repeated abuse of Aimco's private property rights.
Key arguments in Aimco's motion include:
  • Airbnb continues to actively broker sublease transactions at Aimco's apartment communities without Aimco's approval despite knowing that Aimco leases strictly prohibit short-term rentals. Aimco formally notified Airbnb of this breaching of leases on several occasions yet Airbnb has displayed a total disregard for Aimco's right to decide how its own property is to be used.
  • Airbnb has blatantly ignored Aimco's requests to cease listing and brokering its apartments even though Airbnb has quickly removed other listings and prevented rental transactions when in Airbnb's own best interest.
  • Airbnb customers are unvetted trespassers on Aimco property, often engage in disruptive or destructive behavior, diminish the peaceful residential living experience for Aimco residents, and create safety concerns.
Short-term rentals contracted through Airbnb have had, and continue to have, a significant negative economic impact on Aimco, which has invested substantial resources in hiring extra security teams, evicting trespassing Airbnb users and breaching tenants, engaging third-party tracking services to try to identify apartments listed on Airbnb and repairing property damage caused by trespassing Airbnb users, according to a company press release. In addition, the REIT says onsite teams have had to redirect a substantial amount of their time to monitor and prevent illegal subletting activities, all while Airbnb continues to profit from the unauthorized uses of Aimco's properties.
"The most important responsibility we have as owners and operators of apartment homes is to create a community of residents who are invested in being good neighbors," said Aimco Executive Vice President of Operations Keith Kimmel said in the release. "That is why Aimco has made the deliberate choice to expressly prohibit short-term rentals to transient, unaccountable Airbnb users and other travelers who have not undergone our background screening and who are more apt to treat our apartments like hotel rooms rather than homes."
Kimmel added, "If other property owners decide it is worthwhile to do business with Airbnb, that is their right. However, Aimco and other concerned property owners are entitled to their right not to participate in this subletting activity. It is astounding to us that Airbnb blatantly ignores and disrespects our rights as property owners, contracts with some of our residents to breach their leases, and knowingly interferes with, and directly profits from, the contractual agreements we have with our residents." 
Aimco filed initial lawsuits against Airbnb in February in Florida and California. The continued proliferation of Airbnb's activities that result in illicit subletting of apartments, the many concerns expressed by Aimco full-time residents, and the undue business burden placed on Aimco's onsite community teams have motivated the company to pursue a more aggressive legal strategy.