Airbnb Has Purged Half of Its S.F. Listings

The long-promised Airbnb crackdown has finally arrived, and more than 2,000 units were pulled off the site last Tuesday alone.

Last Tuesday at midnight was the moment of reckoning for illegal and unregistered San Francisco Airbnb units. That’s when a new law kicked in requiring Airbnb hosts to register with the city, the San Francisco Examiner reports. Thousands of hosts were still not registered, and Airbnb deleted 2,080 listings in one fell swoop last Tuesday night.

The Chronicle notes that since September 2017, the site has deleted 4,760 short-term rental listings at the demand of the city’s Office of Short-Term Rentals. There were more than 10,000 San Francisco units listed on Airbnb in August of last year, so those 4,760 deleted listings represent half of all the Airbnb units in the city.

And those are in addition to the nearly 1,000 listings Airbnb yanked last March that violated the site’s “One Host, One Home” policy. (That policy only applies in San Francisco, New York City, Portland, and other cities where lawmakers have pushed back against Airbnb’s effect on available housing.)

“We just wanted to have commonsense regulations whereby San Francisco’s acute housing crisis isn’t exacerbated,” District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin told the Chronicle. “The Board [of Supervisors] is unanimous in its desire to have real home-sharing that does not take units off the market that would otherwise go to people who live and work here.”

The board passed a law in 2016 requiring all registered Airbnb hosts to have a license from the Office of Short-Term Rentals or face a fine of up to $1,000 a day. That law kicked in precisely at 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 16, setting off a mad scramble for thousands of Airbnb hosts.

Mission Local’s Joe Eskenazi has a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the final days before the Airbnb registration deadline at the Office of Short-Term Rentals. “The Office of Short-Term Rentals’ rejection rate for prospective registered hosts long hovered at around 15 or 20 percent,” Eskenazi writes. “But, as last week’s mandatory registration deadline approached, the applications went through the roof. And so did the rejections. The office is now spiking nearly 40 percent of all applications.”

The obligatory registration for short-term rental hosts also applies to homeshare companies HomeAway and VRBO. If you’re renting out a room or any apartment on Airbnb or those websites, you’d better register as a short-term rental host online.

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