Airbnb comes clean with San Francisco

|
(19)

Airbnb came clean this evening, sending out new terms of service drafted April 7 that customers must agree to before conducting further business starting April 30. The new agreements seem intended to address longstanding issues in San Francisco that the Guardian first raised in May 2012, and have been recently joined by other journalists in spelling out and highlighting.

In the opening of its new Terms of Service, Airbnb wrote (in all caps): “IN PARTICULAR, HOSTS SHOULD UNDERSTAND HOW THE LAWS WORK IN THEIR RESPECTIVE CITIES. SOME CITIES HAVE LAWS THAT RESTRICT THEIR ABILITY TO HOST PAYING GUESTS FOR SHORT PERIODS. THESE LAWS ARE OFTEN PART OF A CITY’S ZONING OR ADMINISTRATIVE CODES. IN MANY CITIES, HOSTS MUST REGISTER, GET A PERMIT, OR OBTAIN A LICENSE BEFORE LISTING A PROPERTY OR ACCEPTING GUESTS. CERTAIN TYPES OF SHORT-TERM BOOKINGS MAY BE PROHIBITED ALTOGETHER. LOCAL GOVERNMENTS VARY GREATLY IN HOW THEY ENFORCE THESE LAWS. PENALTIES MAY INCLUDE FINES OR OTHER ENFORCEMENT. HOSTS SHOULD REVIEW LOCAL LAWS BEFORE LISTING A SPACE ON AIRBNB."

It seems like a good first step. Next we'll see whether the company follows through with paying its local taxes and working with the city on legislation to legalize more of its business model in San Francisco.

Comments

want to do. I would not count on people agreeing to these "terms" necessarily taking any note of the alleged law.

Most people ignore small print.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 10, 2014 @ 7:16 am

We're so lucky to have you, Steven, to take on the big, bad people at Airbnb. This change would not have been possible without your excellent reporting.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 10, 2014 @ 8:39 am

I know people at Airbnb...trust me, they are PETRIFIED that Steven will write about them for the 678th time. Ron Conway hasn't slept in weeks. They are even considering returning Steven's phone calls.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 10, 2014 @ 9:02 am

So despite Steven's grand campaign, the world continues to rotate, and people share their assets harmoniously, without a government bureaucracy or SEIU having any skin in the game.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 10, 2014 @ 9:13 am

new taxes headed the city's way. It's the rash of evictions of tenants who've violated their leases by renting out their places and utilizing Airbnb which are taking place now. We're going to witness a rush of new apartments into the marketplace, many of them gems which have been occupied by the same tenants for decades at very little cost. It's going to be glorious!! The new flush arrivals to our city who can pay big bucks are gonna get a crack at some sweet digs and landlords are going to double or triple their monthly take - all in a very short period of time. And this is all possible thanks to Steven and his anti-Airbnb campaign!!

Thank you Steven!!

Posted by Guest on Apr. 10, 2014 @ 9:20 am

the Airbnb host list and are working through them to spot tenants breaking their leases.

Then they contact the landlords and offer to evict for breach of lease.

Sweet. And it's all thanks to Steven.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 10, 2014 @ 9:38 am

Certainly hundreds - possibly thousands - of rent controlled tenants are getting evicted. If Steven truly wants to take the credit for Air BnB coming under heavy scrutiny, then he needs to also take credit for the unintended consequence.

He portrayed Air BnB as a rogue, tax dodging operation in violation of numerous city health and safety codes. It took landlord attorney about 24 hours to figure out that this could be easy grounds for termination of an under market lease where tenants were profiting heavily of their rent controlled status. And within weeks, the evictions started... and it's just getting started.

WAY. TO. GO. STEVEN.

Was the trade off worth it?

Posted by Longtime Lurker on Apr. 10, 2014 @ 11:20 am

really only two answers. Either:

1) Steven had no influence on Airbnb or the legislators at all, OR

2) Steven did have influence and that is leading directly to tenant evictions.

Either way he looks bad, so don't expect a response from him.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 10, 2014 @ 11:40 am

So many long time tenants have been profiting from AirBnB. I don't know how he didn't see this outcome.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 10, 2014 @ 11:58 am

good job of predicting unintended consequences. I give him credit for feeling the pain of his fellow man, but it's that same touchy-feely thing that lets him down.

Nobody is smart enough to predict all the possible outcomes from a course of action but, when you are blinded by a hatred for Lee and Conway, that can blind you to more obvious implications.

The irony is that his only rationalization here is that he had no impact or influence on this topic, and therefore the evictions would have happened anyway.

Damned if he does and damned if he doesn't.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 10, 2014 @ 12:18 pm

I don't write to engineer particular political outcomes, I simply try to promote open and honest debate. When I discovered this corporation's business model violated local laws, and that it was flagrantly refusing to pay its taxes, I exposed that. It's as simple as that.

Posted by steven on Apr. 10, 2014 @ 2:44 pm

direct result of your campaign, do you stand by your editorial decision to make a big deal out of this?

In other words, was their sacrifice worthwhile for the greater good?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 10, 2014 @ 2:51 pm

AirBnB mass evictions are only a matter of time. Eviction lawyers need only get lists of hosts, cross reference them with rented apartments and start contacting landlords.

Steven didn't do that and isn't doing that. He's bringing to light the system. Lawyers have been working on this for far longer than Steven's been writing about it.

AirBnB provides a nice, centralized location for hosts to rent out their apartments. It's also a nice, centralized location of renters breaking their rental agreements. AirBnB's model is based around encouraging this, and that's been part of it from the beginning - it's always been illegal to do a less-than-30-days sublet and AirBnB's neveer blocked a listing from going up due to legal status, so from the beginning it's only been a matter of time until landlords figure out how to get at the renters.

Posted by bassguitarhero on Apr. 10, 2014 @ 4:11 pm
Posted by Guest on Apr. 10, 2014 @ 4:37 pm

Why does the loss of a thousand or so cheap homes for long-term residents matter in the least when it brings us closer to the goal of increased revenue from lodging taxes for city government? We're talking about an increase to revenues estimated at .02% man!!!

Listen - to make an omelet you've got to crack a few eggs. The evicted tenants are simply road kill on the progressive freeway to a better life for all.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 10, 2014 @ 9:52 pm

in a story with the headline "Federal criminal indictment of PG&E doesn't go far enough". In it, you wrote among other things: "This is a sick system, and something needs to change."

Just curious, is that *not* writing intended to engineer particular political outcomes?

It took me literally under two minutes to find a blaring contradiction by you. I don't know how you take yourself seriously. Thumbs up on the evictions, dude.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 10, 2014 @ 3:04 pm
Posted by Longtime Lurker on Apr. 10, 2014 @ 11:27 pm

A lot of AirBnB employees and illegal subletters posting on here obviously upset their scam is being exposed. Get these greedy blood sucking idiots out of our city please, and keep up the good reporting Steven.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 11, 2014 @ 9:03 pm

never been a hint of the city claiming it is illegal.

If the city wants to tax short-term stays, then it cannot be illegal.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 12, 2014 @ 4:19 am

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Also from this author