The proposed ordinance which could require Airbnb to remove up to 75 percent of their estimated 9,500 listings in San Francisco, or face penalties that could theoretically total well over $5 million a day, could be acted on by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors by the end of the month.

While changes to San Francisco’s Planning Code would require a recommendation from the City’s Planning Commission, or 90 days to pass, before the Board could act, as the proposed ordinance amends San Francisco’s Administrative Code, it may be heard by the Board within 30 days of introduction, which would be any time after May 26, 2016.

As drafted by Supervisor Campos and now co-sponsored by Supervisors Avalos, Mar and Peskin, the proposed Short-Term Residential Rentals and Hosting Platforms amendment would require that all ‘Hosting Platforms’ verify that every unit offered in San Francisco has been registered with the City prior to its listing, would mandate that Platforms respond to demands from the City for information regarding the compliance of any listing within one business day, and would extend the potential civil, administrative, and criminal penalties that exist for individuals that violate the City’s short-term rental laws to Platforms which could face penalties of up to $1,000 per day for every instance in which they either (1) fail to inform a host of the City’s registration law, (2) fail to collect or pay taxes on a stay, (3) allow an unregistered unit to be listed, or (4) fail to respond to the City’s demand for information to verify a units compliance with the law.

And if adopted, the amended law would become effective 30 days after enactment.

16 thoughts on “Board Could Quickly Act to Amend Troublesome Law for Airbnb”
  1. The irony of San Francisco’s government’s relentless efforts to stifle the innovation that funds its ridiculous budget and inflated salaries, not to mention a good part of what makes San Francisco an interesting and world-class city will never cease to amaze.

  2. AirBnB and its ilk are being fought in similar ways in many many other cities, not just our little cow town. That provincial city Berlin has banned them entirely.

    1. Any references? I see they are regulating airbnb, but banned entirely? I don’t see any evidence of that. As of May 2016 people are allowed to rent rooms in their own home, but can’t rent full flats without a permit, which costs a few hundred to get, and probably some hassle.

      Berlin also committed to building 40,000 new units in the next 10 years.

      1. Berlin has ~3.5 million residents living in ~1.9 million housing units. 40k new housing units (~2%) in 10 years is negligible. In recent years they have added 50k residents/year. They would need to be adding at least 20k new units every year to keep up with that rate of growth.

  3. @sorry you’re missing the point. First, for every Berlin you bring up (even if you have your facts wrong, as @lyqwyd points out) I can bring up 2 or 3 Paris, London, Barcelona, Chicago or Rio.

    Second, Airbnb didn’t originate in these cities, and that is the irony. The fact that the technology companies (Airbnb and their ilk to use your phrase) are what pays a good chunk of the salaries of the very same people who want to ban it. Think of a cartoon character sawing off the branch they are sitting on.

    1. I think it’s more coincidental than ironic.

      You suggest that innovation is a positive thing, I agree. So why can’t Governments innovate and evolve too? If short term occupancy is dispersing from hotels to the rest of the city, they should be able to amend the laws to capture that revenue.

      I also think that we are quick to congratulate someone for breaking the law if they can hide behind “it’s innovation” or “it’s part of the sharing economy.” These are for profit companies making money (not a bad thing) but we can’t act like they are providing shelter out of the goodness of their hearts.

    2. AirBnb is illegal in Barcelona without a touristic license. The city stopped issuing licenses in 2013. I believe the fine for getting caught without a license is 50k EURO.

      Paris is having similar crackdowns on hosts who are not full time Paris residents.

      1. Re: 50k EU fine for operating without a license. What a grand idea! Followed by a first-priority tax lien on the property if not paid within 30 days.

  4. I’m not fully against Airbnb but feel they are getting what they deserve for acting in bad faith early on.

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