San Francisco Considering Amendments to New STR Regulations

San Francisco Supervisor, Mayor Proposes Tighter Regulations On Short-Term Rentals, Airbnb

From TLC, April 14, 2015

San Francisco Supervisor Mark Farrell and Mayor Ed Lee are backing a new set of tighter regulations on short-term rentals and their biggest hosting platforms like Airbnb.

The proposed changes include:

Capping hosts at 120 days per year. Before, hosts could do 90 days of non-hosted rentals or unlimited number of days for hosted rentals. They found it was too hard to distinguish between or regulate hosted versus non-hosted rentals, (especially because the planning department only had the equivalent of two to three full-time employees to track and enforce thousands of listings).

Creating a new Office of Short-Term Rental Administration and Enforcement that will be staffed by the Planning Department, Department of Building Inspection and the Tax Collector’s office. It’s a one-stop shop on the fifth-floor of the Department of Building Inspections where members of the public can apply to be hosts. The city is not budging on making hosts physically come in for an in-person meeting to register with the city. Jess Montejano, a legislative aide to Farrell, told me that they had heard too many “horror stories” from the City Attorney’s office about hosts committing fraud and forging documents like utility bills.

Lastly, the legislation expands the a private right of action so that nearby property owners and neighbors living within a 100 foot radius of a hosted property can issue complaints if a host is violating the city’s short-term rental law. Montejano says this isn’t as extreme as what opponents of the new legislation are pursuing in a law that they may put before a citywide vote through a ballot initiative in November. “That coalition is pushing a law that would create a new cottage industry of fly-by lawsuits. We want to make sure that we have a proper review process from the city’s end and give residents the ability to bring suit if they felt like they had exhausted all options under the city law.”