After resisting regulation, the company is policing itself.
In a conciliatory gesture to lawmakers and residents, Airbnb will begin identifying and removing hosts who are breaking the law in San Francisco. The users it’s targeting are those who maintain multiple listings but are not licensed hotel operators, which according to SFGate amounts to 7% of listings and 17% of host revenue in the city.
Airbnb originated as a platform for private homeowners to rent out an extra bedroom, or let someone use their apartment while they were away. But its success has attracted more and more commercial operators, including some who buy properties for the exclusive purpose of renting them out on Airbnb.
In many cases, that’s illegal—aside from hotels, San Francisco only allows permanent residents offering their own home to rent to short-term visitors. And with San Francisco in the midst of a housing crisis that is both comical and tragic, Airbnb has been accused of adding even more pressure to the market. The company has lobbied extensively against laws that would have restricted its operations, and its new steps towards internal due diligence may help stave off harsher regulations in the future.
For more on Airbnb learning to play nice, watch our video.
This doesn’t mean no commercial operations will be listed on Airbnb, though—within San Francisco, the site also hosts listings from hundreds of licensed hotels.