San Francisco just dealt another major blow to Airbnb

Not pleased.
Not pleased.
Image: AP Photo/Jeff Chiu
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San Francisco’s board of supervisors overwhelmingly voted in favor of more stringent rules restricting Airbnb’s operations in the city.

On Tuesday (June 7), the board voted 10-0, with one abstention, to require short-term rental websites, such as Airbnb, to post only the listings of residents registered with the city, reports the San Francisco Examiner. Companies that don’t comply will face a fine of up to $1,000 a day.

The decision is the latest setback for on-demand and sharing economy companies as the city grapples with their growth. In April, San Francisco began requiring its 37,000 Uber and Lyft drivers to obtain business licenses.

Supervisor David Campos, who introduced the legislation, has been vocal about Airbnb’s role perpetuating San Francisco’s housing crisis. Last year, a study compiled by the city’s budget analyst found that 925 to 1,960 units in San Francisco sat vacant so they could be rented out on Airbnb.

San Francisco residents, however, rejected a housing measure last November that would’ve limited short-term rentals to 75 nights a year. This was a major victory for Airbnb, even as it faced backlash for spending $8 million on a series of tone-deaf ads it ran and subsequently pulled.

Under existing rules, Airbnb hosts are required to register with the city, though that has been difficult to enforce. Only 1,324 hosts have registered in the last 18 months, reports the Examiner.

In a statement Airbnb called the new rules “legally questionable” and said an estimated 1,200 residents “avoided foreclosure or eviction by hosting on Airbnb.”