The majority of Airbnb hosts are violating San Francisco laws

airbnb san francisco
Airbnb may be winning all the people’s choice awards, but when it comes to the legal system, it’s not getting any points at all. According to a new report from the San Francisco Budget and Legislative Analyst’s Office, over 25 percent of homes in San Francisco listed on the popular hotel alternative site are in violation of the city’s laws. Moreover, the report finds, well over half of Airbnb hosts have failed to register their properties, which was made illegal by a law passed in 2015. Worse still, the findings suggest, “it is not possible to estimate the total number of unique listings across hosting platforms in San Francisco” due to “an unknown number of duplicate listings on the various hosting platforms.”

Airbnb recently released a report of its own, which also admitted to a number of wrongdoings. Last week, the San Francisco-based company promised to start cracking down on illegal rentals in its home city, which it admitted comprised up to 10 percent of its local listings. But apparently, that was a rather major underestimation.

As per the city’s report, 285 (about 26 percent of the total) entire-home listings violate the city’s 90-day cap on “unhosted rentals” that are meant to combat illegal, full-time hotels. And it’s not just a slight violation — the average occupancy of these homes (owned by 261 unique hosts) are occupied for an average of 180 nights per year.

“This damning report makes it clear that it would be irrational to rely on Airbnb and the industry to self-regulate,” said Supervisor David Campos, who asked city analysts to crunch the numbers. “We need to amend the law to make sure there is proper implementation.”

It’s unclear as to how the city aims to combat the growing problem presented by Airbnb, though the report did suggest stricter laws as a potential solution. That said, there are certainly a number of obstacles in the way.

“The (city enforcers) don’t know the location of the businesses they are in charge of regulating or the names of the people running them,” said the report’s main author, Fred Brousseau, director of policy analysis in the Budget and Legislative Analyst’s Office. “That puts them at a real disadvantage in terms of enforcement. The fact that there are that many hosts exceeding the 90-day cap (on whole-home rentals) and the city can’t identify them in any systematic way or get them to stop is an indication that the office doesn’t have all the tools at its disposal that it needs.”

For its part, Airbnb insists that it’s doing everything it can to help. “Airbnb is already working to help meet the city’s goal of fighting illegal hotels and we are taking action by removing unwelcome listings from our platform, releasing data and cracking down on commercial operators,” the startup said in a statement. Unfortunately, that just may not be enough.

Product Review

Grins come standard: Mazda's 2019 MX-5 Miata will plaster a smile on your face

We take Mazda’s updated 2019 MX-5 Miata on a road trip from San Luis Obispo to San Francisco to experience the updates. With a revised engine and more power, the already awesome Miata gets even better.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in August 2018, from ‘Her’ to ‘Jurassic Park’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, subdued humor, or anything in between.
Smart Home

Trulia enables homeseekers to know the neighborhood with a new app feature

Trulia Neighborhoods is taking a closer look at neighborhoods with a new digital experience, Trulia Neighborhoods, that aims to use multimedia to depict the local character of American communities.

Police bust a massive interstate SIM card hijacking ring

Law enforcement agents in Flordia and several other states have worked together to break up an interstate cybercrime ring that used hijacked SIM cards to steal cryptocurrencies and cash from victims.

Network routers with roaming enabled are likely susceptible to a new attack

Jens Steube discovered a new method to break into network routers while researching new ways to attack the WPA3 security standard. He stumbled onto an attack technique capable of cracking hashed WPA-PSK passwords.

Saving your favorite YouTube videos for posterity is quick, easy with these tools

Learning how to download YouTube videos is easier than you might think. There are plenty of great tools you can use, both online and offline. These are our favorites and a step by step guide on how to use them.

Hacker plays ‘Doom’ on John McAfee’s ‘unhackable’ BitFi Bitcoin wallet

The BitFi hardware cryptocurrency wallet isn't as unhackable as John McAfee claims. A 15-year-old bedroom hacker has managed to get Doom running on the device, suggesting its days may soon be numbered.

Having issues with Microsoft Edge? Here's how to fix the most common problems

If you're feeling frustrated with Microsoft Edge, or have run into a serious problem with Windows 10's built-in browser, take a look at these common issues and the solutions that can help you get back on track.

Spotify vs. Pandora: Which music streaming service is better for you?

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.

The best place to print photos online: Seven top photo labs

Have you been looking around for the best place to print out your favorite photos online? Don't fret, we've pored through dozens of options and narrowed it down to the seven best.

The browser-based Monero miner Coinhive generates around $250,000 each month

Despite a fall in cryptocurrency mining, the Coinhive Monero miner is still highly active, generating around $250,000 each month. Coinhive also contributes 1.18 percent of the total mining power behind the Monero blockchain.

The Andromeda botnet still lingers as nations struggle to clean infected PCs

A report by Fortinet suggests that although the FBI and Europe ended the Andromeda botnet’s reign in late 2017, there are still infected PCs. Cleaning up these PCs isn’t progressing at the same pace across various regions.

FatCam: Museum of London’s livestream of a rancid hunk of sewage proves popular

A London museum put part of a fatberg on display earlier this year and the putrid muck proved to be a surprise hit with visitors. Keen to share it with a wider audience, the fatberg is now starring in its very own livestream.

Australian student hacks into Apple, steals 90GB of data because he’s a ‘fan’

A 16-year-old student in Australia broke into Apple’s network multiple times for an entire year to download 90GB of “secure” data and access customer accounts. He did this because he was a "fan."