The Sharing Economy, just getting off the ground as an industry, has taken another hit. For a while, Airbnb seemed a cool hipster concept for short-term leasing space. Those with the space to rent out received extra money and those bunking enjoyed a rate lower than that of hotels. The main target markets have been major metro areas like Manhattan.
The latest problem Airbnb has encountered, reports the New York Post, is that the space leased is allegedly being used in Manhattan for prostitution. This came to light when publicist Jessica Penzari leased space in which a hooker allegedly had been slashed. Here is the Post coverage.
What lawyers will immediately see is this issue: Can Airbnb be effectively regulated? Already law enforcement such as the New York Attorney General is focusing on how it does business. One matter has been the law that the owner or permanent renter must be on the property during the short term lease.
Another share-economy player taking heat is Uber. That taxi service raises its rates significantly when demand is highest. It defends this business practice by contending that is needed as incentive for drivers to stay on duty after they had "earned enough" for that day.
Will hipsters have to go back to the Hilton and hailing a yellow taxi?