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San Francisco creates a legal framework for Airbnb-style rentals

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If you're wondering how many cities will eventually grapple with the legal issues surrounding Airbnb and other internet-based home rentals, you may not have to look much further than San Francisco. Its Board of Supervisors has passed a law that lets these services run, but regulates them to both prevent abuse and give the municipality its due. Hosts not only have to limit whole-home rentals to 90 days per year, but register with the city's Planning Department (which costs $50), pay hotel tax and keep records that prove they're respecting the time restriction. There should also be companion legislation in the future that prevents landlords from evicting tenants to turn their buildings into makeshift hotels. If implemented, it'll let housing non-profits sue to stop these turnovers rather than wait for officials to respond.

Airbnb is fine with the new rules, and it will start collecting the hotel tax this month. The new regulation won't satisfy everyone; no matter how well it prevents excessively long rentals and evictions, it won't do much to protect neighbors from shady guests. However, it suggests that local governments can strike a reasonably happy balance between controlling rental rates and letting tenants earn some cash while they're not using their homes.

Source: SFGate
Coverage: TechCrunch
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