City sues Bernal Heights property owners after shootout in illegal short-term rental

The San Francisco City Attorney’s Office has filed a lawsuit against Bernal Heights property owners whose single-family home, which was being used illegally for short-term rentals, became the site of a wild party and shootout in October.

The lawsuit, filed May 10, names Erik Rogers and his wife Anshu Singh and seeks a court order requiring them to bring the home at 212 Banks St. into compliance with city building codes and laws around short-term rentals, as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties.

The lawsuit alleges the couple illegally divided the house into two units and rented it out through Airbnb and HomeAway/VRBO without registering as a short-term rental with the city. An investigation found that between June 2016 and October 2017 the owners rented out the property at least 319 nights at rates of up to more than $800, while living in Bali, Indonesia, according to the city attorney’s office.

SEE RELATED: Party at popular Airbnb rental in Bernal Heights erupts into gunfire, but law would’ve prevented listing

During a short-term rental in October 2017, the house became the scene of a large party that ended in fights and a shootout that injured one person and sent bullets flying into neighbor’s homes and parked cars. Neighbors told police they saw “people running over roofs, jumping over fences,” and police collected more than 100 bullets and shell casings from the area.

A neighbor later found a discarded gun on Jan. 28 in his backyard and accidentally fired it, injuring his hand.

“There’s a reason that we can’t let unregulated and illegal Airbnbs do business in our residential neighborhoods,” Supervisor Hillary Ronen, whose district includes 212 Banks St., said in a statement. “Even in the best case scenarios it’s a major nuisance for our neighbors, and in the worst case scenarios we have gunfire that damages cars, breaks windows and terrifies communities.”

San Francisco requires that homes being rented out for less than 30 days at a home be registered with the Office of Short-Term Rentals and that the owner be a permanent resident of the unit, living in it at least 275 nights per year.

“This is exactly why San Francisco has common-sense regulations on short-term rentals,” City Attorney Dennis Herrera said in a statement. “In the middle of a housing crisis you have a couple who aren’t even living in the country turning a house into an illegal hotel for tourists and partiers. This could have been a home that kept one more family in San Francisco. Instead, it brought a deluge of gunfire to a quiet neighborhood. We are changing that.”

Examiner Staff
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