Report: Majority of Airbnb Hosts in San Francisco Operating Illegally
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On the heels of a recent American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) report suggesting that short-term rental service Airbnb is profiting off of "illegal hotels" in Los Angeles and other cities around the country, comes a report that a majority of the company's hosts in San Francisco are operating illegally.
According to a policy analysis report released earlier this month by the San Francisco Budget and Legislative Analyst's Office, 26 percent of all entire-home Airbnb listings in the company's hometown are in violation of a 90-day annual limit enacted last year.
The report found that those 1,055 homes are controlled by 969 unique hosts and average an occupancy rate of 200 nights a year.
What's more, the report also revealed that nearly 77 percent of Airbnb hosts in San Francisco have ignored city registration requirements that date back more than two years.
As of mid-March, the city's Office of Short-Term Rentals (OSTR) has only received 1,647 registration applications, which accounts for fewer than one-quarter of the Airbnb hosts operating in San Francisco.
Supervisor David Campos told SFGate.com that the "damning report makes it clear that it would be irrational to rely on Airbnb and the industry to self-regulate... We need to amend the law to make sure there is proper implementation."
According to SFGate.com, Airbnb said the report "mischaracterizes some information." However the company has vowed to investigate and crack down on illegal hotels.
"Airbnb is already working to help meet the city’s goal of fighting illegal hotels and we are taking action by removing unwelcome listings from our platform, releasing data and cracking down on commercial operators," the company said in a statement.
READ MORE: Examining the State of Airbnb
In addition to suggesting that other short-term rental services like HomeAway/VRBO and FlipKey join Airbnb in paying a hotel tax to the city, the city's report calls for an amended law designed to expand the role of the aforementioned platforms when it comes to compliance and a simplified registration process that will encourage, not deter hosts from registering their listing.
In other Airbnb-related news, Newark is set to become the second city in New Jersey to collect taxes from Airbnb, agreeing on a six percent tax equivalent to what the city's hotels pay.
More by Patrick Clarke
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