The owner of two prominent Minneapolis apartment buildings has filed a lawsuit against Airbnb, the short-term rental company that is helping transform the way people vacation.
Denver-based Aimco (Apartment Investment & Management Company) said that Airbnb is encouraging renters to violate the terms of their lease by participating in the subletting of their apartments. Among other issues, it’s a practice, Aimco said, that puts other residents of those buildings at risk because those short-term guests aren’t vetted.
The suit, which was filed in California and Florida, seeks monetary damages and a court order to prevent Airbnb from doing anything else that helps its tenants who have used the Airbnb website to find short-term renters.
With nearly 200 rental properties, Aimco is one of the country’s largest apartment owners and operators. In Minneapolis, it owns Calhoun Beach Club, an upscale rental building near Lake Calhoun, and Loring Towers, an income-restricted, HUD-subsidized apartment tower on the edge of downtown.
The company said short-term rental arrangements, whether through Airbnb or otherwise, are expressly prohibited by the lease agreements signed by its tenants. “Transient Airbnb clients have posed safety and quality-of-life concerns for Aimco’s full-time residents,” the company said.
A spokesperson for the company said that she was not aware of any plans to file a separate suit in Minnesota, but that at any Aimco property, no matter where it is located, it is a lease violation for a resident to sublet an apartment.
The company said that all prospective Aimco residents undergo criminal background checks and credit history reviews before their acceptance as qualified renters and when approved, Aimco residents sign the company’s Good Neighbor Policy as part of their lease — a promise of good behavior and consideration for their neighbors.
“By contrast, those assisted by Airbnb to use Aimco property in violation of the Aimco lease are trespassers, with unvetted personal histories and no vested interest in maintaining a peaceful community atmosphere. On several occasions, these Airbnb-supported trespassers have created safety, noise and nuisance concerns for Aimco’s lawful residents, including incidents of public drunkenness and fighting requiring police assistance.”
Aimco Chief Executive Terry Considine, said that the company’s residents are his top priority. “It is not acceptable to us that Airbnb actively promotes and profits from deliberate breaches of our leases, and does so in utter disregard of the disrespectful and unsafe situations created for our full-time residents and their families,” he said in the statement.
Airbnb spokesman Ben Breit, said the suit is an “attack on the middle class by powerful interests” that is wholly without merit. He said the company has 800 hosts in Minneapolis and 200 in St Paul.