Campus News

Legal battle

As short-term rental company HomeAway challenges San Francisco’s attempt to make a legal framework for Airbnb in court, UGA’s Dan Coenen lent his expertise to an article in Bloomberg Businessweek.

HomeAway is arguing that the city’s new ordinance, which only allows short-term rentals if the person renting out the space actually lives there as a primary residence, illegally discriminates against its users who rent out their vacant living units.

Coenen, University Professor and holder of the Harmon W. Caldwell Chair in Constitutional Law in the School of Law, said that courts have struck down city and state laws that are deemed protectionist. He also said that HomeAway might have an argument, but that laws that were found ­discriminatory have been allowed to stay in place as long as there’s another reason for their existence.

“If I can argue that this type of law is the best way to prevent end-arounds around zoning law or the commercialization of residential areas, that could be upheld,” Coenen said. “That’s where the battle will be fought.”