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Airbnb and City of San Francisco Headed to Mediation

Saturday, December, 24, 2016

Airbnb and the City of San Francisco are headed to mediation concerning fines and criminal penalties levied on home-sharing companies. The order came from a federal judge recently and stems from the ongoing lawsuit filed by Airbnb regarding San Francisco’s attempts to enact more stringent regulations on the company concerning short-term rental properties advertised online.

At the moment, the city is able to issue fines and penalties on property owners without registering with the Office of Short-Term Rentals. Early in the summer, lawmakers passed a law that extended those penalties to Airbnb, but the ordinance has yet to take effect. The city held off enacting the ordinance after the Airbnb lawsuit was filed and a judge issued a preliminary injunction.

The preliminary injunction request was later denied, but that second judge left the door open for the company to provide information related to its concerns that it could be at risk for unfair criminal sanctions. The city was later ordered to keep the law on hold while the court worked out details with Airbnb. San Francisco had been ready to implement the law immediately before the latest ruling.

The judge stated that he was disappointed the city and Airbnb had done little to iron out their differences. He expressed disappointment, but is hoping mediation can bring about a resolution between the two parties. The city and Airbnb have been ordered by the judge to begin mediation immediately and those involved are hoping for a resolution by mid-December. Others are skeptical and doubt mediation will be successful