San Francisco-Based Airbnb Nearly Legal In Its Home City

The home sharing company is one mayoral signature short of being completely legal in its home city of San Francisco.
Posted at 8:07 AM, Oct 22, 2014

San Francisco-based home-sharing company Airbnb is on the cusp of legality in its home city. 

Airbnb offers up temporary rentals around the world, acting as an intermediary between those looking for a place to stay and those offering up a place to stay. (Video via Airbnb)

But up to this point, Airbnb has been illegal in San Francisco. According to a writer for Business Insider, "unless you [acquired] a bed-and-breakfast permit or [jumped] through other arduous bureaucratic hoops," you faced possible fines of up to $1,000 or even jail time.

On Tuesday, however, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a law making short-term rentals legal in the city. The law still needs to be approved by San Francisco mayor Ed Lee. 

According to TIME, the law will require an official registry of hosts "and rules about who is and is not allowed to offer tourists a place." Hosts are required to collect hotel taxes and can only offer up their main residence.

Airbnb published a post in mid-September notifying San Francisco users it would collect necessary taxes on behalf of its hosts beginning October 1. 

Airbnb's campaign for lawful home-sharing in San Francisco has gone on for quite some time.

In late July, the company published a site for its Fair to Share campaign, which urged law makers to make "fair, clear, and sensible rules for home sharing in San Francisco."

And according to CNET, several proposed amendments to the law would have seen Airbnb paying "more than $25 million" in back taxes and limit the number of rental days for each host — 90 days per year. Those amendments, however, were rejected by the Board of Supervisors. 

Critics of Airbnb and home-sharing in general argue these services contribute to the affordable housing crisis in San Francisco. 

Airbnb is no stranger to housing regulations; the company has faced red tape in New York, Portland and even Germany.

This video includes images from Getty Images.