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San Francisco’s proposed legislation to legalize and regulate people who rent out their homes and rooms to travelers is now a little tougher.
Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, who is shepherding a law to regulate use of Airbnb, VRBO and similar services, updated his proposal to incorporate suggestions made by the city’s Planning Commission at an August hearing that drew droves of people with opinions about the controversial issue.
The move precedes the legislation’s next official step, a Sept. 15 hearing by the Supervisors Land Use Committee. After that, it will be heard by the full Board of Supervisors.
San Francisco currently bars short-term residential rentals, but rarely enforces the ban, which is flouted by thousands of residents who have turned their residences into impromptu inns via the popular services which act as matchmakers between guests and hosts. Most notably, startup success story Airbnb has almost 5,000 listings in its hometown, a Chronicle investigation found.
After two years of study, Chiu introduced a proposal under which full-time San Franciscans would be able to rent their primary residence to travelers for up to three months a year after registering with the city, and documenting compliance with tax and rent-control laws.
He has now amended it to incorporate Planning’s recommendations to regulate single-family homes, strengthen enforcement, ensure safety issues and protect affordable housing.
The new changes, as explained by Chiu:
Regulate Single-Family Homes
- Requires residents of single family homes to register with the City for permission and comply with the principal place of residence requirement.
- Consolidates the enforcement function from two agencies into one and moves the responsibility to the Planning Department from the Department of Building Inspection.
- Increases administrative penalties for repeat violations by doubling the fine for second offenses and tripling the fine for third offenses.
- Requires the Planning Department to issue a registration number with approval and residents to include the registration number in any posting, to improve documentation and monitoring.
Protect Affordable Housing
- Reinforces exclusion of subsidized and affordable housing from participation in short-term rental activity, specifically below market rate (BMR) units in the inclusionary affordable housing program and single room occupancy (SRO) units.
Ensure Building and Fire Safety Compliance
- Deny permission to units that have outstanding Building, Electrical, Plumbing, Mechanical, Fire Health, Housing, or Planning Code violations, including notices of violation, notices to cure, orders of abatement, cease and desist orders, or other correction notice.