Legal News

Lawsuit: Airbnb Isn’t Responsible for Enforcing San Francisco Laws
Download PDF
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)


Photo courtesy of TripAdvisor.

Summary: In a new lawsuit, Airbnb claims they are not responsible for enforcing San Francisco’s rental law. 

Airbnb is at war with its hometown, San Francisco. On Monday, the home-share giant sued the city for attempting to make it enforce a housing law, which Airbnb claims is illegal. Airbnb, which already has made efforts to help the city regular the short-term rental market, claimed that San Francisco’s additional ask was not their responsibility.


In the city, people are allowed to rent out their apartments with restrictions, and they must also register themselves. Because enforcement has been difficult, San Francisco updated the regulation by adding that websites such as Airbnb can be punished for non-compliant users. The City proposed a $1,000 per day fine for each unregistered listing and that Airbnb employees could face jail time. While the terms seem harsh, San Francisco is responding to a housing crisis–rent is already high there and the rental supply does not meet demand. Airbnb users exacerbate the problem by using up the already limited apartment supply.

However, Airbnb, like numerous other websites, has pushed all of its liability onto its users. After all, is Craigslist responsible for the junk sold on there? Is Google responsible for people reading search result websites with false information? So far, the answer is “no” because of section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which provides legal protections to internet companies.

Eric Goldman, a professor at Santa Clara University School of Law, explained to the Chicago Tribune the section’s reach.

Get JD Journal in Your Mail

Subscribe to our FREE daily news alerts and get the latest updates on the most happening events in the legal, business, and celebrity world. You also get your daily dose of humor and entertainment!!

“Imagine if a state or city required eBay to verify that its sellers had the appropriate local business license,” Goldman said. “That would be an indirect, but very clear, limitation on eBay’s abilities to accept listings, and I think that’s what Section 230 precludes.”

In the past, courts tended to side with the websites so it looks like Airbnb has a good chance of winning their San Fran lawsuit. However, that doesn’t mean the site may not be affected when its client-base will bear the brunt of all the local regulations. For instance, Airbnb said that the city has already fined its hosts a total of $700,000. These fines are meant to deter Airbnb users.

What do you think about this lawsuit? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: Chicago Tribune


Interesting Legal Sites You May Like




Search Now

Civil Litigation Associate Attorney

USA-FL-Coral Gables

Coral Gables office of our client seeks civil litigation associate attorney with 3+ years of experie...

Apply Now

Family Law Attorney


Ogden office of our client seeks family law attorney with 2+ years of experience. The candidate will...

Apply Now

Insurance Defense Litigation Attorney

USA-FL-Boca Raton

Boca Raton office of our client seeks attorney with 5+ years of insurance defense litigation experie...

Apply Now


Research Analyst & Report Writer


Are you someone with an inquisitive mind? Do you like to research and “dig” into matters...

Apply now

Associate Attorney


Hirzel Law, PLC is nationally recognized in the field of community association law. In addition to r...

Apply now

FT and/or PT Attorney Position


We are seeking a full-time and/or part-time attorney to work with a solo practitioner in Denver....

Apply now

Estate Planning Attorney


About Us Our company is an estate and financial planning services company focused on the post-ret...

Apply now


To Top