A November ballot proposal introduced today seeks to limit short-term rentals in San Francisco. The measure targets services like Airbnb, which allow homeowners and tenants to rent out their homes to travelers, by limiting such rentals to neighborhoods zoned for commercial use.
The initiative would also require San Franciscans who rent their homes on a short-term basis to join a public registry, and show proof of their landlord's permission to engage in short-term rentals as well as proof of insurance. A portion of the bill that is expected to be controversial provides a monetary kickback to citizens who report illegal short-term renting.
The Chronicle reports that the proposed measure is backed by Calvin Welch, a housing activist, Dale Carlson, a public relations representative, and Doug Engmann, a former member of the San Francisco Planning Commission. The group told the Chronicle that it has raised roughly $20,000 for the initiative, but will still need to secure 9,700 signatures before July 7 to get the measure on the November ballot.
If placed on the ballot, the initiative would compete with Supervisor David Chiu's proposed legislation, which also seeks to clamp down on services like Airbnb. Chiu, who introduced the legislation earlier this month, has worked on his proposal for over a year. His proposal — which, unlike the ballot initiative, has the support of Airbnb — would require services like Airbnb to collect San Francisco's 14 percent hotel tax and prohibit housing stock from being turned into de facto hotels.
Chiu's legislation must first go before the Planning Commission, then be approved by the Board of Supervisors.