Short-term home rental service Airbnb has filed a lawsuit against the city of San Francisco, objecting a new rule that would hold Airbnb accountable for San Francisco based homeowners failing to register with the city before listing their properties on the platform. The registration process was put in place in February 2015 to prevent people from renting out apartments on Airbnb all year long and taking away affordable living space from San Francisco’s already strained housing market.
The rule has been largely ignored by Airbnb hosts though and the new law would see Airbnb responsible for any unlawful listing in the city. The company argues against this, citing the Communications Decency Act of 1996 which prevents local governments from holding websites responsible for content published by their users. Instead, Airbnb suggests facilitating the registration process and relaxing the rules for occasional users of home-sharing services.
As the chart below, based on public listings data collected by Inside Airbnb, shows, the density of Airbnb listings is much higher in San Francisco than it is in other U.S. cities. A negative court ruling would not only hit the company in its hometown but in one of its most important markets.
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