According to San Francisco Administrative Code Chapter 41A, it is “unlawful for any owner to offer an apartment unit for rent for tourist or transient use,” defined as “occupancy for less than a 30-day term of tenancy.”
Any interested party may institute proceedings for injunctive and monetary relief for violation of this Chapter. In addition, the owner may be liable for civil penalties of not more than $1,000 per day for the period of the unlawful rental. If the interested party is the prevailing party, such party shall be entitled to the costs of enforcing this Chapter, including reasonable attorneys’ fees, pursuant to an order of the Court. If the interested party is a permanent resident, then the interested party shall retain the entire monetary award.
And in terms of Criminal Penalties:
Any owner who rents an apartment unit for tourist or transient use as defined by this Chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Any person convicted of a misdemeanor hereunder shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by imprisonment in the County Jail for a period of not more than six months, or by both. Each apartment unit rented for tourist or transient use shall constitute a separate offense.
An apartment is defined as a “room or rooms in any building, or portion thereof, which is designed, built, rented, leased, let or hired out to be occupied…provided that the apartment unit was occupied by a permanent resident on or after February 8, 1981.”
And according to the Administrative Code, “It is presumed that an apartment unit was occupied by a permanent resident on or after February 8, 1981, and the owner has the burden of proof to show that an apartment unit is not subject to this Chapter.”
This afternoon San Francisco’s Land Use and Economic Development Committee will review an amendment to Chapter 41 sponsored by Supervisor Chiu which would “extend the restrictions against converting apartment units to short-term occupancies to tenants or guests of corporate entities that rent such apartments” and allow civil actions to be brought by certain non-profit entities.
With respect to being offered for tourist or transient use, there are currently 1,938 rooms, homes or apartments in San Francisco listed on airbnb alone.