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Airbnb Spends More Than $8 Million in San Francisco Fight

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Airbnb has mounted a massive campaign to defeat a San Francisco proposal that would severely impact its business model, hiring a former political strategist and spending more than $8 million in the process, Reuters reports.

The home rental site is struggling with a growing number of policy and regulatory challenges and also faces censure in New York and Austin, where city councils are considering more restrictive rules.

On Tuesday voters will decide on a proposition that would limit all short-term rentals, such as those offered by Airbnb, in San Francisco to 75 days a year, and make it easier for neighbours to sue the group for violations.

Airbnb has worked with many cities to reach agreement over taxation, including Paris, its biggest market, and San Francisco, where it collects a 14 per cent hotel tax from guests.

Residents accuse the company of driving up rents and the cost of living. They claim Airbnb units reduce the supply of longer-term rentals, exacerbating a tight housing market.

Airbnb said it was complying with the city’s law on short-term rentals, which was passed last year.

The current law limits short-term rentals to 90 days a year when the host is not present; there is no limit when a host is present.

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