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Aimco's (AIV) Lawsuit Against Airbnb Dismissed in California

Zacks Equity Research

The lawsuit of Apartment Investment and Management Company AIV — better known as Aimco — against Airbnb, which alleged that the short-term rental website has allowed tenants to violate their lease agreements through unauthorized subleases, has been dismissed by a California judge, according to a report from Bloomberg.

This dismissal comes due to the Communications Decency Act which protects online-service providers from the responsibility for the content users post. In fact, per the ruling, "Airbnb hosts, not Airbnb, are responsible for providing the actual listing information."

Notably, Aimco had alleged that its high-end apartment communities’ tenants in Los Angeles have complained about noisy Airbnb tourists and therefore more security staff had to be employed for property monitoring, trace and expel unlawful Airbnb guests. However, following the dismissal of the lawsuit, Aimco plans to consider all of its legal options in California, as it has disagreed with the reasoning and Communication Decency Act’s use.

Nevertheless, Aimco has been making diligent efforts to revamp its portfolio through property sales and reinvesting the proceeds in select apartment homes with higher rents, superior margins and higher-than-expected growth. This is anticipated to drive long-term growth. Moreover, the company has a solid portfolio, which is diversified both in terms of geography and price point.

However, stiff competition from new supply in various markets is expected to hinder Aimco’s rent growth and new lease-pricing ability. Also, interest-rate hikes and dilutive effects of sale of assets remain concerns.

Aimco currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). In the past six months, shares of the company have outperformed the industry. While the stock has inched up 0.6%, the industry has declined 3.9% during this period. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Better-ranked stocks in the REIT space include Ashford Hospitality Prime, Inc. AHP, Lamar Advertising Company LAMR and Outfront Media Inc. OUT. All three carry a Zacks Rank of 2 (Buy).

Ashford Hospitality Prime’s Zacks Consensus Estimates for 2017 funds from operations (FFO) per share remained unchanged at $1.61 over the past week. Its share price has increased 3.4% in three months’ time.

Lamar Advertising Company’s FFO per share estimates for 2017 have remained unchanged at $4.96 in a month’s time. The stock has gained 7.2% over the past three months.

Outfront Media’s FFO per share estimates for 2017 remained unchanged at $1.98 over the past month. Its shares have lost 5.5% during the past three months.

Note: All EPS numbers presented in this report represent funds from operations (FFO) per share. FFO, a widely used metric to gauge the performance of REITs, is obtained after adding depreciation and amortization and other non-cash expenses to net income.

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