In one fell swoop, Airbnb made it a lot harder for folks to find vacation rentals in the Bay Area, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. For the last several years, the company has been at odds with its home city of San Francisco over rules and regulations involving registration. On Wednesday, January 17, a law requiring hosts to register their properties went into effect, and unfortunately, many Airbnb users failed to comply. As a result, the platform has nixed nearly half of the rental options on the site. Since September, Airbnb has removed 4,760 San Francisco listings, and 2,080 were removed late Tuesday, January 16, in advance of the new legislation. In total, that means that there are now around 5,500 listings in the Bay Area, a sharp decline from August when that number totaled more than 10,000.
Despite an initially acrimonious battle between Airbnb and the city of San Francisco that involved a lawsuit (which was ultimately dismissed), the vacation rental platform has since cooperated with the city government.
“We just wanted to have common sense regulations whereby San Francisco’s acute housing crisis isn’t exacerbated,” District Three Supervisor Aaron Peskin told the San Francisco Chronicle. “The Board (of Supervisors) is unanimous in its desire to have real home sharing that does not take units off the market that would otherwise go to people who live and work here.”
While a number of hosts sought to follow the new rule, rushing in around 200 new applications in the week before the deadline, it would appear that several thousand chose to ignore the law instead. And now, these folks are facing the consequences. Of course, this doesn’t mean that hosts are now unable to register with the city of San Francisco. However, those who did not do so before Tuesday will see upcoming reservations canceled. Once they follow city ordinances, however, they may again post listings and accept reservations, even if their applications are still pending.
“All guests impacted by the cancellations will be notified, offered a refund and our agents will be available to assist as necessary,” Airbnb spokeswoman Mattie Zazueta said in a statement. “We are proud to have worked with lawmakers in our hometown to create clear, fair home-sharing rules that ensure every listing on the Airbnb platform is in full compliance with local regulations. We look forward to building our business in San Francisco with a strong foundation of dedicated hosts, clear rules, and a streamlined registration process that supports compliance.”
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