Comment on the Eve of San Francisco Prop F Vote

In terms of working cooperatively with cities, airbnb “talks the talk” but does not “walk the walk”.

airbnb has really brought on Prof F by not taking any reasonable action to limit the impact of their host-absent “entire place” rentals or refusing to list properties that do not have a city-required permit # or limiting the number of nights an “entire place” rental can be rented to 90 nights a year (in the case of San Francisco and Portland, OR). airbnb could have easily take such actions but has just refused to do so. Why? Because airbnb earns more revenue from the more expensive host-absent “entire place” rentals than the host-resident “private room” rentals. Now airbnb complain that Prop F is “too extreme”.

Actually airbnb host-resident “Private Room” rentals do not deplete housing stock (unless you count long-term roommate rentals) and do provide most of the good outcomes airbnb depicts. This is why Santa Monica, CA recently limited airbnb rentals to just host-resident “private room” rentals. It is airbnb host-absent “entire place” rentals that generate airbnb horror stories, irritate neighbors, destroy the character of residential neighborhoods and deplete the housing stock.

In most cities any landlord can rent their property 30 nights or more at a time (a month-to-month rental). It is just “short-term” rentals of less than 30-days that are the problem. The only reason to rent short-term rather than long-term is that if your location is right you can make a lot more money renting short-term (greed).

airbnb host-absent “entire place” rentals when offered on an ongoing basis are really just “vacation rentals”. Vacation rentals in resort areas have been heavily regulated for years. What’s new with airbnb is the concept of an unregulated “urban vacation rental”. Host-absent vacation rentals need to be more heavily regulated than host-resident “entire place” rentals.

One final note, the only reasonable assessment of the impact of airbnb on housing units needs to be measured by host-absent “entire place” rentals within a zip code. This is because airbnb rentals affect some neighborhoods greatly and others not at all. So city-wide statistics are meaningless.

To learn how cities around the world are attempting to appropriately regulate airbnb check: .