Airbnb, San Francisco reach offer on rental registrations

Monday, May 1, 2017|3:14 p.m.

SAN FRANCISCO– San Francisco and Airbnb reached an offer Monday that aims to avoid the short-term rental website from noting housing units that are not following city rules that limit the period of stays and the variety of nights units can be leased.

The settlement fixes a claim submitted by Airbnb over a city law that fines the business for booking leasings not registered with the city.

Under the deal, homeowners aiming to list a leasing will be able make an application for a city registration number through Airbnb’s website and will have to note their registration number to publish a listing.

The company will supply a month-to-month list of all San Francisco listings to the city, so authorities can verify that systems are registered. Airbnb will deactivate listings that the city says are invalid.

“This settlement secures our areas and will help prevent our valuable housing stock from being illegally became hotels at the expense of forced out or displaced renters,” City Attorney Dennis Herrera stated. “I think this is going to put San Francisco on the roadway to being a design for reliable guideline of home-hosting platforms.”

Airbnb stated in a declaration that the arrangement “puts in location the systems and tools needed to assist guarantee our community is able to continue to share their houses.”

San Francisco-based Airbnb is the world’s biggest short-stay online rental company.

Critics complain Airbnb’s service model motivates landlords to take already limited rentals off the marketplace. Fans state they couldn’t live in San Francisco without the additional money made in leasings.

San Francisco allows short-term leasings, but it requires hosts to sign up with the city and limits the length of stays to less than 30 nights at a time. Hosts can rent their systems when not present there for a maximum of 90 nights in a year.

Furthermore, individuals can just sign up one system and needs to live there for more than 9 months each year.

The city argued that only 2,100 of the more than 8,000 San Francisco listings on Airbnb were signed up, making enforcement of those requirements challenging.

The city regulation at problem threatened Airbnb with fines up to $1,000 for every single booking it completes for an unit not registered with the city.

Airbnb argued the law would force it to screen and eliminate listings since the company would not desire listings for systems that could not legally be reserved. The company said that role would violate a 1996 federal law that forbids internet business from being delegated content published by users.

A federal judge in San Francisco rejected that argument, but said Airbnb might still have the ability to block the law on the premises that the city does not have a way for it to rapidly identify whether an unit is registered.

U.S. District Judge James Donato in November informed the city and Airbnb to work more difficult to fix Airbnb’s lawsuit.

Chris Lehane, head of global policy and interactions for Airbnb, stated on a conference call with press reporters that the settlement provides an easy registration system while allowing the city to make sure hosts are following the law.

City authorities stated it will take 4 months to construct the technology to enable individuals to obtain registration straight through Airbnb. Everyone who wishes to be on the website must register by 2018, Herrera stated.

The offer requires approval from San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors. Airbnb will drop its lawsuit once that happens, Herrera’s office stated.

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