Supervisor Chiu’s proposed ordinance which would legalize, but theoretically limit, short-term rental activity in San Francisco could be adopted by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors this afternoon. And neither the hosts who have been heretofore illegally renting their units, nor the housing advocates and neighbors who have been lobbying for legislation to restrict the practice, are rallying in support. In fact, the opposite is true.
As proposed, the language of Chiu’s amended ordinance would allow a homeowner, or a tenant with the right to sublet, to rent out their primary residence in San Francisco on a short-term basis for up to 90 days per year, with no limit on the number of days for “hosted rentals” where the host is present during the stay.
While hosting platforms, such as Airbnb, would be required to track, collect and remit San Francisco’s 14 percent hotel tax for all short-term rentals booked through their platforms, they would not be required to report the number of days a unit had been rented nor enforce any limits on the booking side. Instead, individual hosts would be tasked with self-reporting the number of days a unit was rented as a short-term rental each year.
San Francisco’s Planning Department, which would be responsible for overseeing the required registration of all units to be rented on a short-term basis and compliance with the terms of the ordinance, had recommended a number of ways to facilitate the department’s ability to actually enforce the proposed ordinance (such as making the registry public and requiring hosting platforms to include the number of days a unit was rented along with their collected taxes), but those recommendations were rejected.
If adopted as written, the ordinance would become operative on February 1, 2015. And if adopted as written, don’t be surprised if the ballot initiative to further restrict short-term rentals in San Francisco is submitted for processing, an initiative for which the necessary signatures have already been gathered and sits waiting in the wings.
UPDATE: As first reported by the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Chiu’s ordinance was approved by
San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors in a 7-4 vote with Supervisors Avalos, Campos, Mar and Yee opposing. And a proposed amendment to also limit “hosted stays” to 90 days a year failed 5-6.