Airbnb’s Fight With|San Francisco on Hold

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) — A federal judge put Airbnb’s constitutional challenge of a crackdown ordinance passed by San Francisco on hold for 60 days, pending an upcoming vote on changes to the proposed law by the city-county’s board of supervisors.
     Airbnb sued the city in June, saying a new ordinance regulating short-term rentals is both illegal and overly burdensome. The rules, set to take effect July 27, would penalize companies like Airbnb and Homeaway for advertising hosts who haven’t registered with the city with fines of up to $1,000 a day for listing unregistered properties. The companies claim the ordinance violates the First Amendment, the Communications Decency Act and the Stored Communications Act.
     In his order late Tuesday, U.S. District Judge James Donato granted the city’s request to stay the litigation until it can vote on amendments proposed by Supervisor David Campos.
     “Those proposed amendments would, if adopted, significantly alter plaintiffs’ obligations under San Francisco law and may moot some, if not all, of the causes of action in plaintiffs’ complaints,” the city’s request said.
     The city says the changes introduced at the its board of supervisors meeting on July 12 directly address constitutional issues raised in Airbnb’s lawsuit, for example by imposing fines only after the company accepts a booking fee for a stay in an unregistered home.
     It also gives the city’s Office of Short-Term Rentals the power to subpoena information about illegal listings, which Airbnb said the city needs before it can legally divulge information on its hosts.
     The board of supervisors is expected to vote on whether to enact the changes by mid-August.
     Airbnb did not oppose the city’s request for a stay.

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