The city of San Francisco has issued notices to 15 Airbnb hosts, alleging that they are in violation of the city’s laws for short-term rentals in a total of 73 residential units.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the rented units are essentially full-time hotels in the eyes of the city. That’s a problem, because without being a licensed hotel, short-term rentals are — with some exceptions — against the law in San Francisco, which is also where Airbnb is headquartered.

According to the Chronicle:

Short-term rentals were illegal in San Francisco for decades, but the ban was seldom enforced before February, when the city legalized the practice with certain conditions. The new law requires hosts be permanent residents who register with the city, and limits entire-unit rentals to 90 days a year.

However, it’s not all punitive here in the City by the Bay. The mayor’s office is also opening a six-person “Office of Short Term Rental Administration and Enforcement” to help Airbnb hosts register with the city, as the law requires, and to prosecute violators. Mayor Ed Lee will announce the new law tomorrow, according to the Chronicle.

The Chronicle states that only about 700 hosts — out of 5,000 Airbnb listings in San Francisco — have registered with the city to date, in part because the process is too cumbersome.

Surely a six-person bureau will help cut through the red tape, right?


VentureBeat's mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative technology and transact. Our site delivers essential information on data technologies and strategies to guide you as you lead your organizations. We invite you to become a member of our community, to access:
  • up-to-date information on the subjects of interest to you
  • our newsletters
  • gated thought-leader content and discounted access to our prized events, such as Transform 2021: Learn More
  • networking features, and more
Become a member