Airbnb sues over registration of San Francisco homes

Home sharing site Airbnb is suing San Francisco over a new law requiring that anyone who offers their home through the rental site first register the dwelling with the city.

Under the new rule, Airbnb would be fined $1,000 a day for each listing on its site that has not been registered in advance.

Airbnb contends that the new rule—which mandates that registrants submit the requisite paper work in person, along with a $50 fee—violates the federal Communications Decency Act and the Stored Communications Act.

The ordinance, which goes into effect next month, "will harm thousands of everyday San Francisco residents who depend on Airbnb," the company wrote in a blog post on its website.

Airbnb said that its suit, filed in court on June 27, is "the best way to protect our community of hosts and guests."

Officials in San Francisco and other cities worry that rental apartments are being removed from the market by owners who place them on Airbnb, leading to a shortage of available properties for prospective buyers.

Airbnb, which is based in San Francisco, insists however that it helps visitors find affordable temporary lodging while allowing homeowners to supplement their income.

"There is a need for policies that protect San Francisco's housing stock and ensure the collection of hotel taxes but also enable residents who depend on Airbnb to make ends meet," Airbnb wrote.

"While we have attempted to work with the city on sensible, lawful alternatives to this flawed new ordinance, we regret that we are forced to now ask a federal court to intervene in this matter," the company said.

© 2016 AFP

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