Photo by Natasha Dangond/Special to the SF ExaminerHousing Rights Committee of San Francisco member

Effects of Airbnb disputed prior to Board of Supervisors regulation vote

San Francisco voters would support a ballot initiative calling for The City to regulate short-term rental companies like Airbnb.

That’s according to a poll released Monday by ShareBetter SF, a coalition of labor groups, tenants, landlords, Supervisor David Campos and former Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, which found that 63 percent of respondents would vote in favor of a possible November ballot initiative that calls for The City to regulate home-sharing.

The poll of 500 San Francisco residents was conducted by Goodwin Simon Strategic Research.

About a dozen supporters of Airbnb regulations rallied outside the company’s headquarters at 888 Brannan St. on Monday, a day before the Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote on amendments to The City’s Airbnb law that went into effect Feb. 1 and is widely considered unenforceable.

Fining platforms that advertise unregistered units was supported by 66 percent of respondents, and 62 percent agreed that neighbors and other building tenants should have the right to go to court to enforce short-term tenant rental laws, the poll revealed.

“This poll that we conducted shows that the vast majority of San Franciscans support the regulation of the Airbnb industry,” Supervisor David Campos said at Monday’s rally. “We know that if for some reason the board doesn’t do the right thing that we have the voters on our side.”

Campos, who authored one of two proposals the board will consider today, wants a 60-day cap on the number of stays a host can book per year, as well as requiring hosting platforms to verify that a residential unit is registered with The City prior to listing.

The other proposal, introduced by Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor Mark Farrell, calls for a 120-day cap on annual rentals and the creation of an Office of Short-Term Residential Rental Administration and Enforcement.

The office would be staffed by the Planning Department, Department of Building Inspection, and Tax Collector’s Office, but short-term rentals would not be required to share data with The City.

The Planning Commission in April recommended not requiring hosting platforms to report data to city officials, but the commission’s vice president Cindy Wu on Monday endorsed such a move along with Campos’ legislation.

“Short-term rentals are jeopardizing our rent control stock,” Wu said at the rally.

Also on Monday, Airbnb released a report that for the first time uses its proprietary data to assess the impact on housing in San Francisco.

Airbnb’s analysis indicates that in San Francisco, the average host earns $13,000 annually – or slightly more than $1,000 a month – and hosts guests for 90 nights each year. More than 80 percent of The City’s hosts share rooms only in the home in which they live, and 72 percent use earnings to pay their rent or mortgage, according to the analysis.

“As San Francisco has become more and more expensive, home sharing has been the one thing making it possible for thousands of middle class families to stay in the city they love,” the report states.

Supporters of short-term rental regulations are also gathering signatures to place an initiative on the November ballot that would limit Airbnb rentals to 75 nights per year, require quarterly reporting of data to The City, and allow only units registered with The City to host guests.

AirBnBBay Area NewsGovernment & PoliticsMayor Ed LeePoliticsshort-term rentals

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