Airbnb, San Francisco Decide To Kiss And Make Up Over Rental Registrations

Image courtesy of JayRaz

The legal fight between Airbnb and San Francisco over rental registrations in the city is over, now that the two sides have agreed to kiss and make up.

Airbnb and its sibling HomeAway have settled with San Francisco, agreeing to automatically register all hosts in the city.

Back in 2015, San Francisco implemented a rule that requires residents who rent their homes on platforms like Airbnb to register with the city, and show that they are residing at that property for at least 275 days out of the year. However, fewer than 1-in-5 of San Francisco properties listed on these sites is actually registered.

Airbnb sued the city in June 2016, claiming that the ordinance runs afoul of federal laws that protect website operators from content published by third parties, and alleged that the rule violated the company’s First Amendment rights.

During court hearings this fall, however, a federal judge ordered the two sides to develop technology that would allow home-sharing platforms to comply with the law by automatically registering hosts, reports SFGate.com.

Under the new settlement, within 120 days, Airbnb and HomeAway will require their new hosts to be registered with the city before posting rentals on their sites. Existing hosts will be phased in over several months “to ensure a smooth transition for both hosts and city enforcement staff,” the city says.

Any listings linked to suspected bad actors will be among the first ones required to come into compliance, and everyone will have to be registered after 240 days.

“This is a turning point when it comes to enforcement,” City Attorney Dennis Herrera said in a statement. “This settlement ensures that the two largest rental platforms in San Francisco will only include legal listings. It also guarantees that enforcement with real teeth begins in short order.”

Airbnb says the settlement is similar to agreements it’s established with other cities, and “puts in place the systems and tools needed to help ensure our community is able to continue to share their homes.

“Once fully implemented, every host in San Francisco will be registered and compliant with home-sharing rules the city put in place in 2014,” a spokesman said.