San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has vetoed the short-term rental law approved by the Board of Supervisors in November. The legislation would have limited the number of days any room, apartment or house that hadn’t already been registered with the City could have been rented on a short-term basis (a.k.a. Airbnb’ed) to no more than 60 days per year, regardless of whether a rental was “hosted” (i.e., the host is present at the time of the rental) or not.

As we noted last month, “having been passed by a 6-2 vote with two Supervisors absent (Wiener and Yee) and Supervisor Farrell recused for a conflict of interest, the possibility of a successful Mayoral veto looms.”

According to the Mayor, the legislation would have made registration and enforcement of San Francisco’s existing short-term rental regulations “more difficult and less effective, and risks driving even more people to illegally rent units.”

At the same time, the vast majority of units offered for rent on Airbnb remain unregistered and illegal themselves.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by that_dude

    Thank you Ed Lee!

    1 – BOS can’t do their job – can’t decide, let’s put Airbnb on a ballot!
    2 – They ask the public to decide. Fine, we do.
    3 – Rather than enforcing what we want, they decide to change the rules.

    Obnoxious. Focus on enforcing the peoples will.

    • Posted by Steven

      Airbnb was on the ballot already and the voters overwhelmingly rejected it with Prop F. So, bravo Ed Lee for respecting and upholding the will of the voters.

    • Posted by gentrified is a dirty word for clean

      I don’t think you understand how communism works.

    • Posted by Sue Yu

      Bravo mayor. Personally I don’t care for Airbnb but I am sick of the BoS not representing the people. They talk of Airbnb being two-faced (which it certainly is), but the BoS is exactly the same.

      Thank goodness for Ed on this, and if it helped Breed to stay on for another term she was a much better choose than the awful alternative.

  2. Posted by Sabbie

    “risks driving even more people to illegal rent units.” Wait, is he saying that making something illegal causes even more people to do it?

    • Posted by BobN

      If I understand the law correctly, anyone now, or in future, deciding to rent with AirBNB would have to do it illegally.

      • Posted by Sabbie

        So you’re saying if people wanted to steal something from the store, they would be forced to do it illegally?

  3. Posted by scott f

    If only the people worried that Airbnb *maybe* takes 400 or 500 market-rate units off the market, tops, would join the SF Yimby Party as we fight to create orders of magnitude more units than that.

    Market-rate housing won’t do anything to solve the housing crisis, they say, unless it’s a comparatively tiny amount of market-rate housing suppressed *by Airbnb*, in which case it’s suddenly a huge explosive issue.

    I don’t care about Airbnb as a company either way, but all this drama has been a huge red herring and distraction.

    • Posted by Sabbie

      To many people, it’s not an issue of removing housing from the rental market, it’s a public nuisance. I’m not paying these prices to live next to an amateur gypsy hotel.

      • Posted by Wahrheit macht frei

        If you experience any nuisance based on your neighbor’s use of his/her property, then you should take legal action against them. But that’s no reason for a city-wide ban on Airbnb. Especially considering the acceptance of the greatest nuisance of all, the homeless.

        • Posted by Sabbie

          That’s very libertarian of you, but in an orderly society, we anticipate certain problems ahead of time and pass laws instead. I could just sue my neighbor later if he dumps toxic waste on my property, but we realize that the savings he gets through improper disposal will never outweigh my own interests in this case. So if dumping toxic waste on your neighbors becomes a common issue, we pass a law instead, and save people the trouble of suing en masse.

          The SCOTUS has repeatedly upheld zoning laws as constitutional. There should be no Airbnb in areas that are zoned for residential only, it is a commercial use. I am ok with them in mixed use zoning, but wouldn’t be surprised if lots of HOAs banned them in that case.

          And it’s not a citywide ban, it’s a reasonable limit.

          • Posted by Wahrheit macht frei

            FCOL just pick an argument and stick with it. Is it a nuisance issue or is it a zoning violation issue? They are not the same thing. Either way, in an “orderly society” that is also a free society, both sides of the story have a right to be heard. I know the Supervisors think they are a Soviet Politburo, but they are not. They took their case to the voters and lost. Now, if you want to take your nuisance complaint to the courts, you are free to do so. If those principles seem “libertarian” to you, then you are in need of a civics lesson.

        • Posted by that_dude

          Agreed with wharheit.

          • Posted by Sabbie

            It’s the same argument. I’m talking about the function of the zoning laws to mitigate nuisances that certain commercial uses might have on residential areas. Open your hotel away from my house, among the other hotels and businesses.

          • Posted by gentrified is a dirty word for clean

            It is only the same argument if you equate short-term tenants with nuisance, which you clearly are. And in doing so, you are using the same logic as those equating low-income residents with crime.

            My upstairs neighbor lives overseas part of the year, and uses Airbnb to rent out his condo for part of the time he’s absent. He notifies all building residents each time and we have never experienced any nuisance from it. In fact, he hosts parties and other gatherings every few weeks when he’s home. His tenants never do, so they’re actually less of a “nuisance” than he is.

            But hey, if you don’t like something, it should definitely be illegal.

          • Posted by Sabbie

            And then there’s my friend, who bought a flat in a three unit condo building because it had a nice shared garden and her little kids could play back there. Except then the upstairs neighbor moved out and began running a full time amateur gypsy Airbnb hotel, and there was always some new (and often sketchy) stranger hanging out on the back deck. So there went that.

          • Posted by gentrified is a dirty word for clean

            So you’re proving my point. Because some of them are “sketchy” you want to ban all of them. Some low-income people are also “sketchy” so let’s keep all low-income people out of our neighborhoods. Charming.

          • Posted by Sabbie

            I do want to ban them all. There’s no benefit to the majority of SF residents, except a few people are getting rich off it. The benefit of Airbnb is that tourists can save money over a hotel. Well too bad, I don’t care if they have to pay more to stay in a proper hotel. If you need Airbnb to pay your mortgage, you bought more than you could afford.

  4. Posted by heynonnynonny

    It seems like Airbnb’s victory on prop F should somehow be discounted by outspending their opponents 10:1. Ok, sure, they won by a solid margin but if they really had a mandate you’d expect them to win more cheaply.

    Lee’s entanglements with Airbnb investors are at least as ugly as anything the supes have done to compensate for the amount of money being thrown around here.

  5. Posted by unlivable city

    Where I live (homeowner for almost 20 yrs) my neighbors are almost all full time airbnb. Its awful. They don’t give a damn about the neighborhood, and they don’t keep their places looking nice on the outside. And we have nobody to check in with when anything happens. And when its a ghost town, wow. Nobody. Empty streets. Creepy as hell. AirBNB in dense, crowded expensive cities should be tightly controlled. And I use airbnb a lot, but I don’t expect to use it in Paris, Manhattan and other similar very dense compact cities.

    • Posted by SFRealist

      I use AirBNB exclusively in very dense compact cities. It’s far preferable to a hotel. I can find a place to stay that’s right in the middle of everything, with my own kitchen and washing machine.

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