San Francisco Votes Down Restrictions On AirBNB Rentals

If you don’t live or work in San Francisco and you aren’t an AirBNB host, you probably haven’t heard of Proposition F. The proposition asked the people of San Francisco to decide the future of short-term rentals through AirBNB and similar services, limiting the number of days per year a space could be rented to 75 and creating stricter penalties for hosts who disrupt their neighbors’ lives. The measure failed.

AirBNB, perhaps not wanting to set a precedent in an expensive city and its own hometown, spent a lot of money on their campaign against Proposition F: reportedly $8 million, far more than any candidate spent on amy of the political races on the same ballot. In fact, we posted about one of their ad campaigns against the measure, which was presumptuous and passive-aggressive enough that it attracted a backlash and was quickly taken down.

Short-term rentals have the same problems in San Francisco as everywhere else: complaints from neighbors about guests’ behavior and noise, and concerns from local government and the hotel industry about lodging taxes and taking business away from existing hotels.

Yet the city’s high cost of living and ongoing housing shortage mean that the idea of apartments used solely as hotel suites is an offensive one to many residents. If someone wants to rent their own home while they’re out of town, fine: that’s where the 75 days come in.

Proposition F’s supporters, a coalition including landlords, housing activists, and the local hotel workers’ union, especially want to eliminate the practice of people renting or purchasing entire apartments to rent or sublet to short-term guests.

The victory party may be a short one: the results of the city government elections mean that the city’s Board of Supervisors now has a progressive majority that is likely to vote in favor of restricting short-term rentals.

Prop. F: S.F. voters reject measure to restrict Airbnb rentals [SF Gate]