SAN FRANCISCO—City legislators will vote next month whether to tighten home-sharing regulations in the high-demand rental market of San Francisco.
The call to action was brought forth by supporters and opponents of Airbnb, a home-sharing site that has approximately 5,000 listings in the city. Supporters say the extra revenue allows them to pay for expenses while opponents say home-sharing takes rentals off the already limited market, takes tax revenue hotels would have payed away from the city, and reduces rental stock.
A report released by the San Francisco Budget and Legislative Analyst’s Office earlier this month said that between 11 and 23 percent of vacant housing was being taken up by Airbnb’s home-sharing rentals. Airbnb in their own report stated that their rentals were taking up less than 2 percent of the city’s housing units.
Back in October 2014, after almost two years of revision and opposition, San Francisco passed a law legalizing the service. Prior to this, temporary rentals were not allowed in neighborhoods or buildings zoned for residential use. The city had to amend citywide zoning laws to make the new law, which would allow renting homes and rooms for up to 90 calendar days or longer if the host is present, possible.
Two new proposals that will limit the number of days renting is permitted, are being weighed. One amendment, proposed by Mayor Edward Lee and Supervisor Mark Farrell, would cap the number of days owners could rent out their residence to 120 days whether they are present or not and enact enforcement of the law with the creation of an Office of Short-Term Rental Administration and Enforcement. Another amendment, introduced by Supervisor David Campos, would cap the days at 60 and require Airbnb to file quarterly reports with the city.
Some critics believe that although Airbnb is exacerbating the city’s rental crisis, it should not be blamed and fixing the city’s rental crisis should be a priority.