SAN FRANCISCO—The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved new legislation on Tuesday, June 7 which will have Airbnb and other short-term rental websites work under stricter new rules. The new legislation which was created by Supervisor David Campos and received the support of Aaron Peskin requires Airbnb and other short-term rental websites/organizations to post only rental listings that its occupants registered with the city of San Francisco or they could face daily fines up to $1,000.
Airbnb can only list on its website rental properties that are in compliance and have a registration number. According to Business Insider who spoke with Airbnb, they were informed that the company questions the registration process and how complex it is to get a license in the first place. The company thinks this process makes it hard for people using Airbnb as an income source.
Business Insider spoke with an Airbnb spokeswoman who said, “An estimated 1,200 San Franciscans avoided foreclosure or eviction by hosting on Airbnb and this legally-questionable proposal puts their housing at risk without offering any real solutions to fix the complex process.”
According to the SF Examiner, the legislation was approved by 10 supervisors which means SF Mayor Edward Lee can’t veto the bill. Supervisor Campos told the SF Examiner, “The weakness of the current law is the fact that corporate accountability is non-existent, corporate accountability is not a part of the equation.” He compared his proposal to the idea of a rental car agency requesting to see a driver’s license before renting a car to a driver.
“After two years, we still have 75 percent of folks out of compliance,” said Campos.
The legislation has received opposition from Airbnb and other internet advocacy groups like CALinnovates and the Internet Association. They argue that the proposal violates the federal law protecting internet freedom, Section 230 of the Communications Decent Act in 1998.
An Airbnb spokeswoman told Business Insider that “We hope the Board will act to fix this broken registration system, and we are considering all options to stand up for our community and keep fighting for real reform.”
The short-term rental company is currently in hot water for its alleged discrimination that its customers are facing from their Airbnb hosts. According to USA Today, a well-known Hollywood producer and transgender woman tweeted to Airbnb about her experience and it went viral, which resulted in Airbnb banning the host. The transgender woman was turned away because of her gender identity.