Airbnb waves the white flag in fight with San Francisco

Airbnb waves the white flag in fight with San Francisco

In case you were unaware, there is a dire housing crisis in San Francisco. There is little housing available and the housing on hand is priced out of the range of most working families. This is why the city of San Francisco decided to step in when it came to home sharing services like Airbnb. For those of you who may not know, Airbnb is a service that allows you to rent out your home for temporary or short stays. The city’s concern was that property owners would keep their properties unavailable for renters or buyers so they could instead make more profit by renting them out on Airbnb as de facto hotels. Some sources say there are close to four times more Airbnb properties for lease then there are Airbnb property owners.

Airbnb and the city were locked in a legal battle over the registration of its users with the city. The municipal government feels the registration is necessary due to the potential abuses landlords could inflict on their tenants, such as evicting them so they could instead cash in with Airbnb. Airbnb tried a tactic that may be familiar with some of our readers. They claimed the Communications Decency Act of 1996 and the First Amendment protected them since Airbnb believed they were not responsible for the actions of its hosts. This is the same argument Backpage uses when it comes to defending the sex trafficking ads that continue to litter their site. As much as patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel so is claiming free speech in order to potentially violate the rights of others.

On Monday, Airbnb finally settled with the city and will require its San Francisco hosts to be registered with the city.

Airbnb has said they will institute software for their hosts to register with the city and current hosts have 8 months to register.

Much like Uber and Backpage, it seems start up culture tries to establish their businesses before not only taking the legal ramifications into account, but also not seeming to care who is harmed in the wake of their search for profits.