San Francisco Lawmakers Could Soon Force Airbnb, Other Home-Sharing Websites to Make Major Changes - NBC Bay Area
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San Francisco Lawmakers Could Soon Force Airbnb, Other Home-Sharing Websites to Make Major Changes

On Thursday, a committee of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors took steps to begin holding home-sharing companies, like Airbnb, accountable for any illegal short-term rentals they post on their websites.

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    The process of booking someone else’s home for a quick trip – or even renting out your own place on a short-term basis – could soon change dramatically in San Francisco. NBC Bay Area Investigative Reporter Bigad Shaban reports. (Published Thursday, June 2, 2016)

    The process of booking someone else’s home for a quick trip – or even renting out your own place on a short-term basis – could soon change dramatically in San Francisco.

    On Thursday, a committee of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors took steps to begin holding home-sharing companies, like Airbnb, accountable for any illegal short-term rentals they post on their websites.

    The change in law would require home-sharing websites to verify that listings are registered with the city before posting them online. Otherwise, companies could face penalties from the city of up to $1,000 per day.

    Beginning in February 2015, anyone wanting to rent out their San Francisco home for less than 30 days has been required to register with the city and remain the primary resident of that home. Last month, however, the Investigative Unit found that thousands of short-term rental hosts across the city continue to break the law.

    Supporters of the measure believe added enforcement will help put more housing stock back on the market for full-time residents. Critics, however, argue the city’s registration process for hosts remains far too complicated.

    Airbnb has told the Investigative Unit it has cracked down on illegal posts, and just this week launched a new feature on its site allowing neighbors to report problems directly to the company. Airbnb, however, said it does not support the city’s efforts to require companies to verify whether hosts are registered before allowing them to post their ads online.

    During Thursday’s Government Audit and Oversight Committee, supervisors voted unanimously to push the measure forward, which will allow the full Board of Supervisors to vote on the issue next Tuesday.

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