Airbnb sues Miami after city targets speakers at recent meeting

In a 44-page lawsuit filed Friday afternoon, Airbnb and five of its hosts asked a Miami-Dade County circuit court to stop the city of Miami from enforcing a ban on short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods. 

According to the lawsuit filed Friday in Miami-Dade County by Airbnb and five individual hosts, the city violated the First Amendment rights of hosts who spoke up at a March 23 city commission meeting.

Mayor Tomas Regalado used a list of speakers at a recent city commission meeting where the city's rules on short term rentals were under debate.  Some listed themselves as Airbnb hosts, along with their addresses and phone numbers, as is standard procedure to speak on the record at city meetings. 

In a news report broadcast Tuesday on Local10 News, Regalado said hosts "were putting themselves in harm’s way by officially, publicly, on the record saying that they are violating the code at the city of Miami."

That quote from the report is cited in the lawsuit. 

"The city is now acting to make good on those threats," the lawsuit said. "Airbnb stands together with its Miami hosts in opposing the city's unlawful efforts, and in particular stands with the brave individuals who have come forward and seek to protect their rights as individual plaintiffs in this action."

Three of the hosts listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit attended the March 23 meeting. Airbnb officials have said the company has 2,300 active hosts in Miami.

Airbnb and the five hosts allege that Miami is flouting Florida state law with a reinterpretation of local zoning codes. 

The lawsuit also alleges the code enforcement action against the hosts has had a chilling effect on free speech and that citizens had the right to speak publicly without fear of retribution.

This BBSNews article was syndicated from News | WPLG, and written by News | WPLG. Read the original article here.