Luxury Apartment Landlords Sue Airbnb Over Raucous Renters

The corporate ownership of a trio of luxury apartment complexes near the Grove is suing Airbnb for allegedly encouraging illegal short-term rentals at its buildings.

In a suit filed this month in L.A. County Superior Court, Apartment Investment & Management Company (AIMCO), owner of the Villas at Park La Brea, the Palazzo at Park La Brea and the Palazzo East at Park La Brea (as well as Lincoln Place Apartments in Venice), alleges that Airbnb is violating L.A. municipal code by facilitating rentals shorter than 30 days at those properties.

"Short-term rental arrangements, whether through Airbnb or otherwise, are expressly prohibited by AIMCO's lease agreements," according to a company statement. "Transient Airbnb clients have posed safety and quality-of-life concerns for AIMCO's full-time residents."

The suit alleges "there have been dozens, if not hundreds, of unlawful subleases at the properties through Airbnb during the last year." Those have allegedly resulted in "party disturbances," wear and tear, increased safety concerns, criminal activity on the part of the short-term renters and "general loss of the residential character of the property," the suit states.

The filing sites three examples in which Airbnb renters allegedly disturbed the peace, including an Oct. 23 incident in which police were called as a result of a fight among late-night revelers. AIMCO says it told Airbnb more than once that listings involving its properties were "unlawful."

"Airbnb is aware that numerous hosts on its platform have violated, and continue to violate, the terms of their respective leases with plaintiffs by subletting their apartments through Airbnb's website," according to the filing.

It says the site makes it "difficult" for plaintiffs to track Airbnb rentals because listings are often published without real names and addresses attached. "Without any of that information plaintiffs, as a practical matter, cannot enforce the lease prohibition against the breaching resident," according to the suit.

The suit alleges contract interference, deceptive business practices, interference with business and negligent businesses interference. AIMCO seeks a halt to Airbnb rentals on its properties, a record of such past rentals, legal costs, fees and an unspecified amount of cash in excess of $25,000.

L.A. Weekly reached out to the plaintiff's attorney; he put us in touch with a publicist, who did not comment.

In a statement, AIMCO CEO Terry Considine said: "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. We are asking the courts to compensate AIMCO for our losses and to enjoin Airbnb from participation in further illegal activity at our properties so that our law-abiding residents can enjoy a high-quality living experience."

Airbnb spokesman Nick Papas said, via email: "This attack on the middle class by powerful interests is wholly without merit."

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