Airbnb v CCSF

A federal judge has rejected the arguments of Airbnb and HomeAway that their online listings and subsequent transactions are protected by the First Amendment and Federal Communications Decency Act, upholding San Francisco’s amended Short-Term rentals law which now requires hosting platforms to verify that the units they offer for rent in San Francisco have been registered with the City prior to allowing a booking.

If enforced, Airbnb and other hosting platforms could face penalties of up to $1,000 for each booking of an unregistered unit.  Airbnb currently manages an estimated 9,500 listings in San Francisco, up to 75 percent of which remain unregistered.

That being said, acknowledging that a mechanism for the prompt and effective verification of a unit’s registration with the City has yet to be established, San Francisco has voluntarily agreed to not enforce its law until the details for such a mechanism are ironed out.

A conference to review newly requested briefings with respect to establishing an acceptable verification and enforcement system has been slated for next week, after which Judge James Donato will decide whether or not to grant a temporary injunction to legally prohibit San Francisco from enforcing the law.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Neighborhood Activist

    Hurray! Now let’s get an implementation strategy worked out quickly so that AirBnB and its clients can be held to the law.

  2. Posted by unlivable city

    Does this mean my neighbors on every side will have to move back into (or sell, or rent full time) their condos and homes that have been airbnb’d to utter cretins for years, ruining the quality of life in my neighborhood?

  3. Posted by Sara Short

    Laws are for everyone else to obey… but not me. ( how San Franciscans think ) Just think of Air B&B as doing civil disobedience…

  4. Posted by Mark

    So is it in effect now, then?

  5. Posted by Futurist

    I hope so. I’d like to see AirBnB banned entirely from SF.

  6. Posted by Neighborhood Activist

    Sounds like AirBnB doesn’t have many friends here.

    I sold a condo a few years ago and one of the better offers was for someone who told me (in their buyer’s letter) that they worked for AirBnB. I picked a different offer specifically because I didn’t want to sell to someone who worked for a company that’s only half a step from being a criminal enterprise. (I know, it was just his job, but I have a problem with what AirBnB does to neighborhoods.)

  7. Posted by Charlie chan

    People here are media drones. Outraged by the latest hype.. Airbnb accounts for about 7000 units in all of San Francisco:..meaning it’s a blip on the radar in terms of contributing to the housing shortage. When are all you people going to understand rent control is the cause. 70% of all apartments are rent controlled. Meaning once you’re in the unit is off the market for potentially a lifetime. Stop buying into political hype sf!!

  8. Posted by SocketSite

    UPDATE: Considering the City had voluntarily agreed to not enforce the above law until a mechanism for the prompt and effective verification of a unit’s registration with the City had been established, it’s a bit of non-news that the judge has formally issued a temporary injunction to accomplish the same.

    And while the judge hasn’t changed his stance above with respect to the legality of the law, he has admonished both sides for having failed to jointly resolve the issue of how to verify registration.

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