Online accommodation site Airbnb is locked in an angry court battle with the attorney general of New York about an alleged breach of state housing and hotel regulations.
Lawyers working on behalf of the state are demanding the website, which enables property owners around the world to let anything from sofa beds to private islands, to hand over private data about registered users in the New York area.
Local laws in New York prevent owners from subletting any form of accommodation for less than 30 days in order to prevent the establishment of clandestine hotel operations.
Media in the US have widely reported that court documents filed by the attorney general claimed almost two-thirds of Airbnb listings contravene listings in New York State.
Airbnb, which recently raised some £7 billion in its latest round of financing, said the legal action was an attack on the right of ordinary New Yorkers to “make ends meet”.
In a statement posted on the company’s website, head of global public policy, David Hantman, said Airbnb was proud to “stand up for hosts who shared their homes against this over-broad, government sponsored fishing expedition”.
He said: “Cities like Paris, Amsterdam and Hamburg are embracing the sharing economy and New York shouldn’t be stuck playing catch-up.”
Last year the accommodation aggregator ignored a court subpoena demanding it hand over data of 15,000 users who had supposedly profited from short-term lettings.
The case is being heard this week and a decision is expected in the next seven days.