SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — As the popularity of online services like Airbnb have risen, legislation was introduced in San Francisco on Tuesday to halt people from converting their apartments into short-term vacation rentals.
The legislation introduced by Supervisor David Chiu seeks to regulate a Airbnb and other vacation services have that become a growing, but also controversial, underground industry. The sites have been great for tenants who need help paying for pricey rents but Chiu told KCBS that it’s not so helpful when the city’s apartments suddenly become virtual hotels.
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Some long-time renters in San Francisco have claimed they were evicted by landlords so they could rent out units for a higher price on Airbnb.
In other cases, tenants who listed their apartments on the site have been evicted for violating the terms of their leases.
“We’ve heard too many stories of both tenants and owners who are renting out places year round; really displacing what could be permanent San Franciscans from living here.” Chiu said.
He said there needs to be balance and his proposal would allow short-term rentals by permanent residents but they would have to be in residence for three-fourths of the year.
“If you are not primary resident of a particular space, you would not be able to list it on a site like HomeAway Or Airbnb,” he said.
“What we don’t want to see are buildings being cleared out for short-term rental around the clock.”
Under the proposed legislation, anyone wanting to rent out a room or property would have to register, get insurance and pay hotel taxes to the city.