AirbnbAirbnb can be a godsend for travelers looking to stick to a tight budget, or for those who want to get a more “real” experience in a new destination. With Airbnb, travelers can book rooms, or couches, or futons, with private citizens who are open to welcoming traveling strangers into their homes for a few dollars.

In theory, it makes perfect sense. Travelers get a “native experience” and save some money. Hosts make a little money.

One teensy problem: It might be illegal.

In New York City, there’s a movement to crack down on the scourge that is Airbnb. The problem is that the hosts are not paying hotel taxes. Hotels that do pay the taxes are a little peeved that this new competition is skirting their tax-paying duty, and the New York Times’ Elizabeth Harris reports that the New York state attorney general is on the hotels’ side.

A significant amount of money hangs in the balance – Airbnb’s revenues, the extra spending cash that hosts make, the tax revenue, and of course the out-of-pocket money for travelers. According to Harris’ article, the top 40 Airbnb hosts in New York have each grossed at least $400,000 over the last three years. Wow.

Will Airbnb be able to fight off this legal challenge? Or will the Airbnb era be over before it really got started?

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About The Author

John Miller is president of ScribeWise. He is an avid traveler and web-surfing junkie. Visit

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