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May 20, 2015

San Francisco considering limiting Airbnb stays

San Francisco may become the second California city in a month to limit length of stays arranged by accommodation services like Airbnb, which matches people wishing to rent out all or part of their homes to temporary guests.

A city committee late on Monday advanced a proposal that would limit hosts to renting accommodation to no more than 60 days a year, down from 90 currently. Airbnb has grown quickly and is valued at far more than $10 billion, with analysts assuming it can overcome any major regulatory backlash.

Airbnb says that if the law passes, it would hurt middle-class San Franciscans who earn extra income from the rentals, as well deprive the city of tax revenue they bring.

Others say most homes and apartments are not appropriate for short-term rentals on an ongoing basis, saying such arrangements create a transitory atmosphere and may drive up prices for long-term renters.

The proposal would also make it easier for neighbors and others to sue Airbnb and similar services if they believe short-term rentals do not comply with the law. Currently, such violations go through the city planning department.

The full Board of Supervisors plans to vote on the measure on June 9.

Last week, tourist hub Santa Monica, California, put its own restrictions on Airbnb and similar services. It banned all rentals of less than a month unless the primary resident is also staying on the property at the time.

Philadelphia City Council, meanwhile, is considering taxing Airbnb stays the same rate as hotels.