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Paul Zimmerman
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Showing 15 posts by Vincent S. Loh.

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Short-Term Rentals Fight Flares Up Nationwide

In recent months, cities across the nation have been implementing legislation aimed at regulating and restricting short-term rentals. The affected companies, namely Airbnb, have responded with lawsuits. The dispute has played out differently depending on which city and statute is at issue, but one thing is quite certain: the degree and extent of restrictions ultimately placed on short-term rentals, particularly in larger cities, will have a considerable impact on the hospitality industry. (Read More)

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UPDATE: Airbnb Sues Anaheim Over Law That Makes Website Liable for Illegal Short Term Rentals

Update (8.23.16):

On Monday, August 22, 2016, Airbnb announced that it has dropped its federal lawsuit against the City of Anaheim, California over a municipal ordinance that, in part, imposes fines on short-term rental websites. The voluntary dismissal came after an Anaheim official sent a letter to Airbnb’s legal counsel informing them that the city would not enforce the ordinance against websites such as Airbnb. The city advised that “no criminal or civil penalties will be issued against hosting platforms under the ordinance.”

While the case has now been dismissed, the issue may not be fully resolved. Of importance, the City Attorney’s one-paragraph letter did not rule out the city’s future passage of an ordinance “that is determined to be consistent with the Communications Decency Act and any other laws deemed to be applicable to hosting platforms.” M&R will stay abreast of this issue, and report on the various ways that municipalities are seeking to regulate and manage the booming short-term rental industry. (Read More)

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Short-Term Rentals Spur Discord at Neighborhood Level

The debate over short-term vacation rentals is increasingly pitting neighbor against neighbor. Despite the failure of San Francisco’s high-profile Proposition F, which would have limited short-term rentals to 75 days per year per unit, the dispute is far from over. Even in cities where short-term rentals are already restricted or banned, residents are growing increasingly flustered with local governments’ failure to enforce the legislation that is in place. (Read More)

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“Side Work” Lawsuits Brought by Restaurant Employees on the Rise

Ruby Tuesday is the latest restaurant chain to face a “side work” class-action lawsuit brought by employees who allege that they are underpaid pursuant to federal regulations. The suit against Ruby Tuesday involves thousands of workers at 658 restaurants nationwide who receive a tip credit wage while performing side work such as sweeping floors, washing dishes, cleaning and setting tables, toasting bread, and making coffee. This case follows similar class actions against Darden Restaurants, Inc. and Applebee’s and signals the escalation of a growing employment litigation trend. (Read More)

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San Diego Tourism Surcharge Lawsuit Moves Forward

A judge recently ruled that the nonprofit group San Diegans for Open Government (“SDFOG”) has standing to challenge the City of San Diego’s practice of charging hotels a fee used to promote the City’s tourism industry. While the case has yet to  be decided on the merits, the lawsuit could have wide-ranging impact as it concerns a practice that stands to generate more than $1 billion over the next forty years. (Read More)

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P.F. Chang’s Sued over Gluten-Free Upcharge

On November 24th, a Northern District of California judge refused to dismiss an Unruh Civil Rights Act class action lawsuit against the popular restaurant chain, P.F. Chang’s. The plaintiff alleged that the $1 upcharge the restaurant implemented for gluten-free menu items unfairly discriminated against people who have celiac disease (celiac is an autoimmune disorder whereby the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. The disease affects approximately 1 in 100 people worldwide). (Read more)

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State of Short-Term Rentals in California

Article originally appeared in HALA Newsletter

Online short-term rental companies, a recent phenomenon, have gone largely unregulated in California. That is soon likely to change, however, as many cities throughout the state have either enacted or are considering legislation to govern and regulate this lucrative and ever-growing industry. In that regard, this article summarizes the major legislation and issues that are currently being considered by these municipalities and the state as a whole. (Read more)

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Businesses Incur Hefty Fines for Blocking Wi-Fi

Following the FCC’s massive $600,000 fine of Marriott International last year for blocking Wi-Fi at the Gaylord Opryland, the FCC has now imposed an even bigger fine on a boutique telecom company for engaging in similar activity. (Read more)

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Los Angeles Proposing Strict Regulations on Short-term Vacation Rentals, But to What Effect?

In recent years, the short-term online vacation rental market has flourished, and connecting travelers with short-term bedroom, apartment, or home rentals has become what many value as a billion dollar industry. The industry, however, has gone largely unregulated by state and local municipalities. That soon may change, though, as issues regarding regulations and taxing, both of which are well established for traditional landlords and hotels, has complicated, for many private owners, what has so far been a lucrative endeavor. (Read more)

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Taxing Times May Be Ahead for Online Vacation Rental Sites

In recent years, online vacation rental sites have made great inroads into the hospitality industry. Given their infancy and business model, however, they have gone largely unregulated, particularly when it comes to taxes. This is because they serve merely as a broker (i.e., they take a cut from both the host and guest), leaving the tax duties to the host and guest. Through his introduction of Senate Bill 593, California Senator Mike McGuire seeks to change all that. (Read more)