According to an email from David Owen, Airbnb’s Regional Head of Public Policy, to a number of hosts, “a ballot initiative being drafted by opponents of home sharing that will be introduced tomorrow that would severely limit — and possibly ban — short-term rentals in San Francisco.”

While details for the proposed initiative have yet to be released, the measure is expected to oppose the short-term rental reforms recently proposed by Supervisor David Chiu and Airbnb is soliciting its members to rally in front of City Hall tomorrow, “to urge the City to move forward with sensible regulations that enable our community to continue doing good.”

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Hitman

    AirBNB knows that this could be the death of its entire business model. If its hometown crushes short term rentals, other municipalities are likely to follow.

  2. Posted by marame

    I live in SF and own a single family home up in Sonoma that I purchased years ago and keep as a vacation home. After a while of not using it, I decided to put it on VRBO/HomeAway (never did try AirBNB).
    I soon realized that, happily, my home was a hit with vacation renters, but that my success was exposing me to some serious liability. In the process of getting some extra insurance coverage, I learned that I was required to register with the county, obtain a “Transient Occupancy Certificate” and pay taxes on those short term stays – so I got in touch with the right dept., obtained the certificate, squared my tax bill with Sonoma County for the rents I’d already collected, and went about my business as before.
    My point is, this was not necessarily the most convenient thing I ever had to do, but it was simple enough – in Sonoma at least – and it seems to be what Chiu proposed. My sympathies do not extend to property owners who are aware of the laws and regulations in place and who simply decide to remain out of compliance, or to tenants who willfully break their leases – once you’re aware that you’re breaking the rules, it seems that the easiest long term solution is to go to the city/county/landlord and get yourself back IN compliance. Most people in authority will welcome an honest and proactive “I made a mistake and would like to fix it”, but anyway.
    It’d be sad if the city overreached and banned these types of arrangements outright. Better by far to sensibly regulate the short term / vacation rental market – and to beef up enforcement of current laws – than to shut the market down entirely…

  3. Posted by SFHelmut

    Property owners should not be forced into the hotel business by their tenants.

  4. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    SFHelmut: ensure that you have a “no subletting” clause in the leases you enter into with your tenants. Then if they still put your apartment on AirBnB, you can evict them. Simple.
    I don’t see how property owners can be “forced into the hotel business” without their consent, unless they aren’t paying attention.

  5. Posted by SFHelmut

    The “no subletting” clause is expressly nullified by Chu’s legislation. Tenants can use airbnb whenver they want to and shift all costs & penalties to the landlord/owner.
    On a side note, if you are going to rent in SF, use the SFAA lease – specific to SF Law/Rent Board rules.

  6. Posted by poor.ass.millionaire

    ^ I don’t think that’s right wrt no sublet clause. And if chiu is that dumb, don’t worry, that’ll be over turned in court muy pronto. Silly city regulations and wishes cannot overrule state law. We e seen this time and time again.

  7. Posted by SFHelmut

    It can take years for poorly written or “illegal” legislation to be overturned in court.

  8. Posted by poor.ass.millionaire

    U sure chiu’s leg nullifies non sublet? Proof please.

  9. Posted by R

    No Helmut is wrong. Chiu’s legislation sites that “the new law won’t override lease agreements and that rent-control limits still apply to short-term rentals”
    [Editor’s Note: Law Would Ban Full-Time Airbnb Rentals, Require Registration.]

  10. Posted by Jake

    I don’t think Chiu’s legislation nullifies or in any way modifies a “no subletting” clause.
    The proposed legislation specifically says that
    “It does not confer a right to lease, sublease, or otherwise offer a residential unit for short-term residential use where such use is not otherwise allowed by law, a homeowners association agreement or requirements, a rental agreement, or any other restriction, requirement, or enforceable agreement.”
    That’s from page 18 of the proposed legislation entitled ‘Administrative, Planning Codes – Amending Regulation of Short-Term Residential Rentals and Establishing Fee’.
    Doesn’t seem poorly written to me.

  11. Posted by poor.ass.millionaire

    ^ that’s what I thought. I’m i to it.

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