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San Francisco Moves to Legalize Airbnb, But With Restrictions

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San Francisco lawmakers voted Tuesday to legalize short-term rentals in the city by passing the “Airbnb law,” which permits residents to host guests via services like Airbnb but places restrictions on the practice.

The new law, passed by the city’s Board of Supervisors, will allow Airbnb to operate in the city where it began six years ago, and where laws previously barred residential rentals of less than 30 days, SFGate reports. Thousands of residents ignored the existing laws, which have been lightly enforced.

“The status quo isn’t working; we have seen an explosion in short-term rentals,” Board President David Chiu said in introducing the law.

But the “Airbnb law” will also place restrictions on Airbnb hosts, allowing them to offer only short-term rentals, establishing a city registry for hosts, mandating the collection of hotel tax, limiting rentals to 90 days per year, and requiring liability insurance for each listing.

The law passed in a 7-4 vote, and if it passes a pro forma vote and is signed by the mayor as expected, it will take effect in February. The law was first introduced in April and was intended in part to prevent landlords from renting out extra apartments to Airbnb guests, a practice critics say exacerbates an affordable housing crisis.


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