Airbnb Sues San Francisco Over Rental Registration Law

SAN FRANCISCO-Home sharing site Airbnb is now showing the city of San Francisco that it isn’t happy over the new law requiring home owners using its rental site to register their home with the city. If the Airbnb lists a home that isn’t registered with the city they can face a daily $1,000 fine. The company is now suing its home town city of San Francisco. According to Yahoo News, Airbnb believes that the new law violates the federal Communications Decency Act and the Store Communications Act. The new law requires registrants to submit the requisite paper work in person alone with a $50 fee. Airbnb wrote on a blog post on its site that says the new law “will harm thousands of everyday San Francisco residents who depend on Airbnb.”

 According to the New York Times, two years ago the city and the company drafted a law that allowed Airbnb to operate within the city. During that they start-up dealt with criticism and blowback from supporters of affordable housing. The law went into effect last February and was known as the “Airbnb law.” The New York Times reported that the on Monday the company sued the city over a unanimous decision that was made on June 7 by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. The board decided that Airbnb would be fined $1,000 a day for host who is unregistered who used the service.

The Wall Street Journal received an emailed state from Matt Dorsey, a spokesman for City Attorney Dennis Herrera, argued that the ordinance isn’t towards Airbnb and its online content but the real world business that the company is facilitating.

“Nothing in San Francisco’s pending ordinance punishes hosting platforms for their users’ content,” Mr. Dorsey said. “In fact, it’s not regulating user content at all—it’s regulating the business activity of the hosting platform itself.”

Airbnb wrote in a blog post that “we had ongoing conversations with policymakers in City Hall and sought to encourage hosts to register in order to make the process work. Over the last year, we have held eleven town hall meetings to explain the registration process, repeatedly emailed hosts to encourage them to register, and convened scores of meetings with individual hosts to help walk them through the required registration steps.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, the company told investors it expects revenue of more than $900 million in 2015, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal. It is burning through cash to expand and forecasts an operating loss of about $150 million this year.

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