San Francisco, New York City and Portland, Oregon have all been very concerned that long-term rentals are not taken off the market and converted to short-term rentals. This invariably goes to the question of how to make sure that the host resides in the property for the bulk of the year. Portland, for example, said that a host had to reside in the property 75% of the year, which, by definition, means the host can be absent 3 months of the year and rent out their entire place. This policy may prove difficult to enforce.
airbnb presents itself as a “humble home sharing service” helping keep people in their homes by earning extra cash. This is true of airbnb host-resident “private room” rentals,, but is not true for airbnb host-absent “entire place” rentals when the rental is virtually ongoing. What is really important to the airbnb business model is that people who normally reside in their property can rent it for short periods when they go out of town.
airbnb host-resident “private room rentals do not deplete the local housing market except for long-term roommate rentals. This is probably the lesser of evils from a housing perspective.
There are two fairly easy ways to have a policy that limits host-absent “entire place” rentals.
- Essentially ban them, by specifying that only airbnb host-resident “private room” rentals are legal, or
- Specify that any host can rent out their “entire place” up to, for example, 30 days per year when the host is absent during the rental (presumably while they are on vacation).
Option 1 will NOT meet airbnb’s need for hosts to rent their property when they go on vacation; airbnb is likely to fight this vigorously (as has been the case in New York City). However, Option 2 would airbnb’s need for host to rent while on vacation. Option 2 also provides makes the intent of the ordinance very clear and provides a metric that is easier to enforce.