L.A. Prosecutor Sues Airbnb Hosts for Evicting Low-Income Tenants

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The online room-sharing company, already grappling with allegations of racial bias among its hosts, faces another ugly accusation.

Airbnb, the company that helps people find short-term apartment rentals as an alternative to hotels, is once again under fire for the unauthorized practices of some hosts.

In Los Angeles, the city attorney is suing several property owners, saying they are evicting people from rent-controlled buildings and turning the units into Airbnb rentals, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The Airbnb model allows people to rent out a property they own on a short-term basis. The service acts as a go-between for travelers who are looking for affordable lodging and homeowners who want to make a few bucks renting out their home or spare bedroom.

An Airbnb spokesperson decried the practice of illegally evicting people and using the Airbnb platform to make a quick buck.

Airbnb has also been struggling with the alleged racism of some hosts, according to the New York Times,  A paper published by Harvard University researchers said people with African-American sounding names find it harder to rent rooms through the site. There is also a class action lawsuit in the works alleging that Airbnb violated federal law when a man was denied a rental because of his race. In the Times’ story, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky vowed to root out the problem by finding ways to design a more inclusive site.

Airbnb, the most popular of the home-sharing sites, has more than 2 million listings, mostly for leisure travelers, according to Quartz. But the company recently began to push into the business travel market, in a long-term challenge to the traditional hotel industry.

What’s your experience with Airbnb? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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