Category Archives: Legalities

Short Term Rentals Just Got Real

A recent San Francisco law scheduled to go into effect August 1st 2016 requires Airbnb to verify that its hosts have registered with the city before Airbnb is allowed to show ads for their homes online. Airbnb is now suing the city of San Francisco to try and stop this law from going into effect.

Airbnb and tech groups argue the new law violates the Communications Decency Act.

“This legislation ignores the reality that the system is not working and this new approach will harm thousands of everyday San Francisco residents who depend on Airbnb. It also violates federal law,” Airbnb said in a blog post announcing the suit. “This is an unprecedented step for Airbnb, and one we do not take lightly, but we believe it’s the best way to protect our community of hosts and guests.”

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Full story at Techcrunch.

Did Airbnb Plagiarize?

Shortly before the 2008 presidential election, Airbnb had a brilliant marketing campaign, pitting ficticious breakfast cereal “Obama O’s” against “Capt’n Mcains”, which they then turned into real cereals, at least for a limited time.

It seemed they lost the plot and gone completely sideways… breakfast cereals? Really?

But it was a phenomenally successful campaign, and we believe, it gave a great boost to their business in the early years and put them on the map.

However, while we may be 8 years late in reporting this… the jingle used for the Obama O’s cereal sure sounds awfully familiar, a bit too familiar.

Airbnb Regulation Movement in San Francisco

Photo by Gabrielle Lurie - sf.airbnb -Coalition members call for city officials to immediately begin efforts to collect more than $25 million in past due taxes owed by Airbnb at a press conference on Monday, November 24, 2014, at the global headquarters of Airbnb in San Francisco.

Photo by Gabrielle Lurie – sf.airbnb -Coalition members call for city officials to immediately begin efforts to collect more than $25 million in past due taxes owed by Airbnb at a press conference on Monday, November 24, 2014, at the global headquarters of Airbnb in San Francisco.

And so it begins, another movement is underway in San Francisco to regulate Airbnb’s short term accommodations sharing program. A coalition of affordable housing activists and local home owners are battling an Airbnb backed group called “San Francisco for Everyone” over a ballot initiative aimed at curbing Airbnb’s growth of room sharing within the city.

According to TechCrunch:

Backers of the ballot initiative say the existing regulation passed last fall doesn’t go far enough, and neither will changes proposed by Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor Mark Farrell. The initiative proposes a law with a 75-day limit on hosting, quarterly data reports from platforms and an ability to go to civil court if the planning department does not react to complaints in time. Last week, Lee ordered the creation of a new enforcement office just as the city also sent violation letters to 15 hosts for allegedly turning 73 housing units into full-time short-term rentals. Lee and Farrell are trying to strengthen a short-term rental laws passed last year by putting a 120-day limit on the number of nights a host can rent out their home.

According to the San Francisco Examiner:

Supervisor David Campos wants a 60-day cap on the number of stays a host can book per year. Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor Mark Farrell want a 120-day cap.But that’s hardly the end of the debate. Campos argues the only way to enforce a cap of any size, is to require hosting platforms like Airbnb to only allow listings on their sites with a valid city registration number — or face penalties. And he wants those websites to provide quarterly booking data.

Regardless how the standoff shifts, it seems two factors are a stake; how many days maximum can home sharing be allowed? And how is this measured and enforced? We will continue to monitor this story closely as it unfolds.