A few months after it narrowly dodged a more prohibitive ballot initiative in its home city of San Francisco, Airbnb is finally making moves to comply with the city’s urging to create a comprehensive and trackable registry of hosts.
According to Bloomberg, which cited a letter by Airbnb public policy manager Patrick Hannan, the company will be sending out very frequent messages — through both email and traditional snail-mail– urging its hosts to register with the City of San Francisco. The company will also host registry-focus community events, informing hosts of the registry as well as mandatory quarterly reporting of stays.
All of this information heads to a new civic office, the Office of Short Term Rental, as part of regulations enacted by the city. The office is designed to regulate a variety of measures for Airbnb and other short term rental hosts — including enforcing the maximum number of 90 days that homes can be rented in San Francisco without the host present and ensuring that hosts who self-identify as tenants don’t make more than their monthly rent in short term rental income.
The efforts are the first of their kind, and it’s key that Airbnb comply with them. As part of their stance on actively helping its hosts comply with civic regulations, Airbnb is trying to be a good steward.
It will be interesting to see how Airbnb continues its messaging to comply with city standards while also using its user base to actively protect its livelihood amid civic regulations. This will only continue to happen in more cities, and Airbnb will have to balance its best interests with its decision to be friendly.