San Francisco Hopes to Regulate Airbnb, HomeAway Rentals

San Francisco

If you thought the housing situation in San Francisco was bad already, then you won’t be surprised to learn that the short-term-rental market in San Fran might get a little worse too. Or better, depending on your perspective.

A proposed amendment to a current San Francisco law would impose regulations on Airbnb, HomeAway, and other types of private vacation rental services. The regulations would be based on the laws of the areas that the rental properties are located in.

The law states that Airbnb, HomeAway, and others would be subject to the same building regulations as other similar companies in the same jurisdiction. So for the purposes of San Francisco, the companies would have to abide by San Francisco regulations.

Platforms that don’t follow this mandate could faces fines of up to $1,000 a day per listing as well as misdemeanor charges against them.

“Unless the hosting platforms have a role in enforcement, enforcement is not going to happen,” said Supervisor David Campos of San Francisco. “They have to have some skin in the game.”

Airbnb, HomeAway, and others are quickly becoming a standard for some travelers who seek cheap lodging accommodations on their travels. It’s quite rational that the law of the land would catch up with the ways of the people.

One might argue that Airbnb is feeling the heat and actively making attempts to save face, as they may fear potential blowback from some of their properties in San Francisco that don’t meet the city’s regulations. In an unlikely move to do just that, Airbnb recently began talks with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) for a potential alliance.

Why does the move seem bizarre? The SEIU has been one of the champions behind $15/hour minimum wage laws, which could end up costing Airbnb a lot of money if the wage were implemented throughout the country.

It will be interesting to see how this proposed law turns out, as it could easily set a precedent for other major metropolitan areas across the country!