Airbnb helps hosts in San Francisco get city approval online

The system comes after months of challenges from San Francisco officials.

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Airbnb has had a bumpy ride in San Francisco. After the city passed a law that required all short-term rental hosts to register with the city, only a small percentage did (thanks largely to the onerous process involved), and many of those who didn't were hit with fines totalling $1 million. Differences were set aside in January though, when the parties agreed on a way to automatically register all hosts in the city. That service rolls out today, with hosts now able to apply directly through the Airbnb site for their Short-Term Residential Rental Certificate and Business Registration Certificate, instead of schlepping down to City Hall. New hosts will only be able to list their properties once they're registered, while existing hosts will have to input their registration number to keep their listings active.

"The new registration system provides the City of San Francisco with the tools it needs to enforce its short-term rental laws, while providing our hosts an easy way to register," Airbnb officials said in a statement. "We look forward to working closely with city officials in the coming months to fully implement the registration system and to ensure it has time to work for our host community."