Legislation would crack down on short-term corporate apartment rentals

Mike Koozmin/The S.F. ExaminerSan Francisco is working to prevent corporations from signing long-term leases only to turn around and rent them back to out-of-town employees when needed.

Mike Koozmin/The S.F. ExaminerSan Francisco is working to prevent corporations from signing long-term leases only to turn around and rent them back to out-of-town employees when needed.

In a city with skyrocketing rents, rent-control laws, and strong tenant advocacy, it was just a matter of time before corporate “hotelization” became a target of the Board of Supervisors.

The City may be on the verge of cracking-down on illegal short-term corporate apartment rentals. Board president David Chiu has introduced legislation to set up a clear enforcement procedure to prevent corporations from skirting existing law by signing long-term apartment leases only to rent the units out to visiting employees for just a few days or weeks.

Meanwhile, Chiu is still trying to devise a regulatory umbrella for online services like Airbnb, which allow tenants to rent out their entire apartment for days and weeks.

A 1981 law prohibits occupancy for less than 30 days in apartment buildings with four or more units. Such short-term stays fills The City’s precious housing stock with out-of-towners that could otherwise be used by long-term tenants. The practice also can frustrate tenants and raise safety concerns with strangers coming and going like they would at a hotel.

Chiu’s legislation was approved Monday by the Land Use and Economic Development Committee of the Board of Supervisors. The full board will vote Oct. 16 on the bill. It establishes a complaint and hearing process, requires record-keeping to prove compliance and empowers nonprofits to assist tenants in taking civil action.

Spike Kahn, the owner of 12 units, complained that Airbnb was “taking most of the housing stock,” contributing to lack of housing and increasing rents. She said that the proposal doesn’t go far enough and suggested fee and fines to support The City’s own proactive enforcement.

“The City has become only for the wealthy and those who cram themselves the Tenderloin with four or five people in a room,” Kahn said.

The unregulated Airbnb business model is not only posing challenges for San Francisco, where it is based, but other locations including New York City, which is grappling with issues including taxation.

As Supervisor Eric Mar noted that Airbnb’s businesses “will probably go through the roof” with next weekend’s Fleet Week, America’s Cup and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass events, Chiu said he has been working on coming up with a proposal and to expect something in the coming months.

Chiu said he is working on a process neighbors could use to complain of visitors’ behavior, to ensure that such services don’t displace long-term tenants and determine how such visits should be taxed.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsBoard of SupervisorsEric MarGovernment & PoliticsLocalPolitics

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

District Attorney Chesa Boudin announces charges against former SFPD Officer Christopher Samoyoa in the 2017 fatal shooting of Keita O’Neill at a press conference outside the Hall of Justice on Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
DA Boudin charges fired SFPD officer with manslaughter over fatal shooting

Ex-Officer Christopher Samayoa to face criminal charges in killing of Keita O’Neil

The area near the Castro Muni Metro Station is expected to be affected by construction work on the Twin Peaks Tunnel, with lane closures on Market Street and some loss of parking. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Construction on Twin Peaks Tunnel to begin November 30

Area around Castro Muni Station will see greatest impacts including lane closures on Market Street

(Genaro Molina/Pool/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Newsom calls latest surge of COVID-19 cases ‘unprecendented’

By Eli Walsh Bay City News Foundation California’s latest surge of COVID-19… Continue reading

Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, during a news conference on March 10, 2020. (Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
LA County suspends outdoor dining at restaurants as coronavirus surges

By Alex Wigglesworth Los Angeles Times Los Angeles County public health officials… Continue reading

Renderings of the main entrance to upcoming Mission Bay elementary school on Owens Street. (Courtesy photo)
SFUSD offers first look at planned Mission Bay elementary school

San Francisco school officials this month unveiled the design of a planned… Continue reading

Most Read