San Francisco

Airbnb Hosts in San Francisco Scramble to Register Listings With City

The number of short-term rental listings in San Francisco has plunged.

This comes after web-hosting companies like Airbnb agreed to remove any unregistered listings to comply with the city's regulations. Violators can face a daily fine of $1,000.

Susan Lamaga rented out a room in her house without being registered with the city. But after Tuesday her room would not be listed with Airbnb if she didn’t register.

“I’m hoping everything is correct,” she said, while filling out forms at City Hall. “I’ve never cheated on my taxes so I hope it’s OK.”

At San Francisco’s Office of Short-Term Rentals, the number of new registrations has jumped tenfold.

But many people are dropping out, choosing not to list their properties.

In September, Airbnb offered 10,000 listings in the city. The company anticipates 4,500 will disappear, but that’s not what its emphasizing.

“The biggest impact has been, you know, really providing people clarity around what the rules are,” said Airbnb spokesman Christopher Nulty.

Nulty stressed that Airbnb wants to ensure that rules are being enforced. However, when the San Francisco company started up, rules were almost non-existent.

And when city officials tried to implement some, Airbnb sued them.

“Suing San Francisco was something we never wanted to do and something that we did with deep regret but ultimately it’s something that got us to where we are today,” Nulty said.

Hosts can still apply after Tuesday, but any bookings before then will be canceled until they are registered.

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