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Airbnb fights back against regulations

Shared economy giant suing San Francisco, the first convention bureau to partner with it, and New York

Pictured: Airbnb lodged the court action this week

Airbnb is fighting back against new regulations being imposed in two cities, lodging court action against San Francisco city, where the company was first started, and New York.

The shared economy accommodation giant says in its claim that it should not be held accountable for its members who do not apply with new regulations. The regulations, imposed by San Francisco and New York along with Berlin, require Airbnb hosts to obtain a licence if they list more than half of their properties.

The CEO of San Francisco Travel, Joe D'Alessandro, told M&IT  it was "not in a position to comment on the action", but added it supported the city's regulations.

San Francisco was the first convention bureau to partner with Airbnb for business travel, after launching a campaign to help visitors 'live like a local' and assist meeting planners during achieve peak attendance.

D'Alessandro said: "San Francisco Travel is interested in ensuring the lodging options available in our city are sufficient to meet the demands and desires of our broad diversity of travellers.

"We have consistently advocated for the establishment of regulations that enable short-term residential rental options to be legally offered in San Francisco while also ensuring these options do not enjoy an unfair economic advantage relative to other lodging options such as hotels and inns. 

"We believe it is the best interest of the entire city that any individual offering home sharing accommodations in San Francisco adhere to the city’s regulations."

D'Alessandro said the court action wouldn't change its partnership with Airbnb.

"The parties in this case are limited to the City and County of San Francisco and Airbnb.  San Francisco Travel’s relationship with both Airbnb and the City and County of San Francisco are separate and distinct. Our destination promotion partnership with Airbnb is completely unrelated and isolated from this legal dispute. Consequently, we are not in a position to comment on the action," he said.

Elsewhere, Berlin's crackdown on Airbnb has been welcomed by hoteliers.

In its lawsuit, Airbnb says San Francisco city has violated the Communications Decency Act, a law that prohibits the government from holding websites accountable for the content that is published by their users. It says Airbnb should not be held accountable for illegal rental listings.

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