Legal & Regulatory

Court Rejects Airbnb's Plea To Modify SF Law

November 10
6:00 AM 2016

Airbnb has yet to accept its defeat after the federal judge discarded the site's appeal to modify the San Francisco Law requiring Airbnb company to block or omit its hosts who are not duly registered in the city.

Last June, the home-rental company filed a suit against San Francisco City and claimed that the city violates several federal laws such as the Communications Decency Act the Stored Communications Act and the First Amendment.

According to a report by Reuters, US District Judge James Donato has issued a rule on Tuesday that this was not the case.

For the home-rental site, Judge Donato's decision could have key consequences. Airbnb currently has more than 2 million listings in almost 200 countries around the world. The company has applied similar arguments in its previous battles with other cities including the city of New York. In addition to, the US lawmakers are overseeing the city of San Francisco to set a role model of how to control the eight-year-old startup.

In 2014, San Francisco City passed a regulation that officially legalizes Airbnb. However, since then, several city officials as well as residents have tried to constrict these rules. Airbnb has been accused by critics for being of aid to firmer housing markets, with proprietors asking for rental units that are already off the market in order to benefit from short-term rentals. The current dispute is over an alteration to that original law.

The said amendment necessitates short-term rental companies, including Airbnb and VRBO, to get rid of listings from their websites that do not possess SF's mandatory registration number. Failure to eliminate such listings could introduce the companies to fines worth thousands of dollars plus criminal charges.

In an emailed statement, an Airbnb spokesman said: "While we appreciate that the judge has acknowledged our concerns about the inadequacy of the screening obligations in the new law... We respectfully disagree with the remainder of his ruling."

Since 2008, the website has developed to include social connections pulling data from social networking services such as Facebook. As of May 2011, the site uncovered over 300 million connections between Airbnb and the Facebook user groups.

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