Airbnb settles lawsuit with San Francisco

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Airbnb Head of Global Policy Chris Lehane announced today that the company has settled its lawsuit with the city of San Francisco. Last year, Airbnb sued San Francisco over the city’s new rental legislation.

While the city’s laws were well-intentioned, Lehane said on a press call, it had a really onerous process that made it hard for hosts to comply. As part of the settlement, Airbnb will offer a streamlined registration process to hosts that make it easy to register their short-term rental with the city, obtain a business license and pay the required fee through Airbnb’s platform.

It’s part of Airbnb’s “desire to keep things simple,” Lehane said. That way, hosts have a clear understanding of what they’re supposed to be doing in order to abide by the city’s laws and home-sharing regulations.

In order for this to be implemented, San Francisco’s board of supervisors will have to endorse the agreement. If approved, Lehane said, Airbnb expects the system to be up and running by next year.

San Francisco was not the only city Airbnb targeted in litigation. In Anaheim, Airbnb filed a lawsuit, which has since been dismissed because Anaheim “pulled back their law,” Lehane said. In Miami, a judge ruled last week in Airbnb’s favor and there’s a bit of a grey area in Santa Monica, Lehane said.


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