What is the issue in this case?
Earlier this year, San Francisco amended its short term rental laws to make internet platform providers like Airbnb directly liable when it provides booking services for a fee (like processing payment or booking reservations) for users who failed to correctly register their listings or accurately include a registration number on each listing. The new rules violate the Communications Decency Act, a 20 year old law passed by Congress to create national rules about how internet platforms can be regulated, as well as the First Amendment and due process rights. While we are disappointed that the judge denied our motion in part today, we appreciate that he has acknowledged our concerns about the lack of an adequate process to comply with the verification process.
What does this ruling mean for me?
You will be able to continue home sharing on the Airbnb platform uninterrupted as you have been. Families can continue to rely on Airbnb as an economic lifeline while our legal challenge continues—protecting you and the thousands of hosts who depend on Airbnb to pay the bills and stay in San Francisco is our priority. We want to make sure you can continue to host and earn the money that you depend on to make ends meet, take that dream trip, or fund that new business.
What’s next with regulations in San Francisco?
Just last week we announced a One Host, One Home product development that will help ensure responsible home sharing is not removing housing from the market. Airbnb will also continue providing resources to help hosts register with the City. Registration and compliance can be difficult, and we will keep fighting to streamline the process and make hosting as easy possible.
City leaders agree: the current registration rules simply don’t work, particularly for hosts who list their homes occasionally. It takes weeks or months for hosts to get permits, and the endless red-tape that follows getting a permit can be even more daunting. The City’s newest rule holding platforms like Airbnb liable when hosts can’t comply with the rules is unfair and does nothing to fix the real problems or improve enforcement.
No matter what happens in this case, we know that platforms like ours can do more to help the City achieve its regulatory goals and we remain eager to work with the City on developing rules that actually work for everybody.