Airbnb fights San Francisco unregistered unit ordinance

A federal judge has expressed skepticism that a San Francisco ordinance setting fines for Airbnb if it processes bookings of units not registered with the city violates federal law.

U.S. District Court Judge James Donato said Thursday that the ordinance does not prevent Airbnb from listing the ads if they are for non-registered rentals.

He says the ordinance only penalizes Airbnb if the company books an unregistered unit for a renter.

The ordinance carries fines of up to $1,000 per violation.

Airbnb lawyer Jonathan Blavin says the ordinance would force the company to screen and remove listings.

Airbnb has argued that the ordinance would put it in an editorial role that would illegally treat it as the publisher of third-party ads.

San Francisco passed the ordinance earlier this year.