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Published: Tue, May 02, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Airbnb, San Francisco reach deal on rental registrations

Airbnb, San Francisco reach deal on rental registrations

The San Francisco ordinance, enacted past year, made it illegal for Airbnb to collect fees for providing booking services for rentals that had not been properly registered.

San Francisco, where Airbnb is headquartered, passed the legislation in 2015 in part to stop hosts with more than one dwelling from listing on the sites and keeping long-term housing off the market.

It also prohibits multiple listings by the same host, requires that hosts be a permanent resident in the unit they are renting out and prohibits the use of affordable units with income restrictions for short-term rentals.

"This will help prevent our precious housing stock from being illegally turned into de facto hotels as we work hard to turn the tide on San Francisco's housing crisis", said Herrera, the city attorney, in a statement. Now, when someone wants to sign up to host on Airbnb in San Francisco, they will have the option to send their information directly to the city just by signing up on Airbnb.

All hosts in San Francisco will have to input their registration number before posting a listing.

Airbnb contended that the ordinance violated a broad federal law that protects internet companies from liability for content posted on their platforms.

Airbnb global policy chief Chris Lehane said the settlement will have to be endorsed by the mayor and the city's board of supervisors.

A federal judge in San Francisco rejected that argument, but said Airbnb might still be able to block the law on the grounds that the city does not have a way for it to quickly determine whether a unit is registered. All existing hosts who did not register with the city would be purged from the site.

City officials said it will take four months to build the technology to allow people to apply for registration directly through Airbnb.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera, at podium, talks about a settlement agreement on short term rentals during a news conference Monday, May 1, 2017, at City Hall in San Francisco. The two parties settled on Monday: Airbnb will register its San Francisco hosts, and the city will make it possible to obtain registrations electronically.

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