(I’ll tell you, I don’t care what you do or where you rest your noggin at night. Fundamentally, I’m not a NIMBY – I don’t care what you do. I’ll admit I think it’s noteworthy when I spot Airbnb users in the Western Addition or the Sunset or wherever, ’cause they stand out (without realizing it) like a sore thumb, but I don’t have anything against tourists milling about, you know, per se. It’s funny, they ask me about parking laws. I try to help out. I tell them which way to curb their tires, ’cause a lot of them just don’t get it. And I’ll add that I know people who use Airbnb, and I know people who make some money letting rooms and units via Airbnb and the VRBO. But obvs I don’t own Airbnb options or anything and I’ll also note that I don’t own any hotels or anything.)
So that’s where I stand. No conflicts of interest – how refreshing, non? Now let’s take a look at Prop F via ShareBetterSF:
1. Limits short-term rentals to 75 nights per year, regardless of whether a ‘host’ is present
THIS LOOKS GOOD TO ME. THE WHOLE “HOST PRESENT” THING APPEARS TO BE A GIANT LOOPHOLE COOKED UP BY AIRBNB ITSELF IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE OFFICE OF SUPERVISOR DAVID CHIU. THE RULES THAT HE AND AIRBNB CAME UP WITH ARE A HUGE, UNWORKABLE MESS, IMO.
2. Requires quarterly reports to the Planning Department on the number of nights a unit is rented to tourists
IF YOU’RE RENTING OUT A ROOM OR A UNIT, YOU’D NEED A REGISTRATION NUMBER AND YOU’D NEED TO REPORT HOW MANY TIMES YOU DID IT EVERY THREE MONTHS. SOUNDS PRETTY SIMPLE TO ME. SOUNDS A LOT SIMPLER THAN, SAY, THE EXTRA WORK YOU’LL HAVE TO DO WHEN ANNUAL TAX TIME COMES. IF THIS IS TOO MUCH OF A BURDEN ON YOU, THE PERSON RENTING OUT ROOMS, PERHAPS YOU SHOULDN’T BE IN THIS BIDNESS?
3. Fines ‘hosting platforms’ (like Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway) for listing unregistered units
BAM. IF YOU HAVE A REG. NUMBER, YOU CAN LIST. IF YOU DON’T, YOU CAN’T.
4. Provides other building tenants, neighbors and neighborhood associations with notice when a unit is registered as a short-term rental
SO SFGOV WOULD SEND OUT A BRACE OF LETTERS EVERY TIME A UNIT GETS REGISTERED – THIS IS A ONE-TIME DEAL, RIGHT? AGAIN, DOES THIS SEEM SO UNREASONABLE?
5. Allows other building tenants & neighbors to go to court to protect their rights to the quiet enjoyment of their homes when the City fails to enforce the law
SO THERE ARE YOUR TEETH. THIS IS WHY AIRBNBER’S WILL ACTUALLY PAY ATTENTION TO SF PROP F 2015.
NOW LET’S HEAR FROM AIRBNB::
1. WELL, YEAH, I GUESS, AIRBNB – YOU COULD CHARACTERIZE THINGS THAT WAY. BUT LET’S SAY AN AIRBNBER FROM WALNUT CREEK BUYS A BUILDING IN SF AND THEN AIRBNBS ALL THE UNITS 365/366 DAYS A YEAR – THIS IS WHAT THE PROP F PEOPLE WOULD CALL “RUNNING A HOTEL.” IF I WERE SAID BUILDING OWNER LIVING IN WALNUT CREEK, I’D BE VERY AFRAID OF PROP F, SO I’D FOLLOW THE NEW RULES, RIGHT? IS THAT SO BAD?
2. WELL, I LIVE IN SF, AIRBNB. SO I DON’T THINK YOU’RE TALKING TO ME. BUT i’LL SAY THAT I THINK THE “DATA” WE’RE TALKING ABOUT IS HOW MANY TIMES A QUARTER AIRBNBERS ARE IN BUSINESS, SO NO BIG DEAL, RIGHT? SO FAR, YOU’RE NOT REALLY SCARING ME AWAY FROM PROP F HERE, AIRBNB. LET’S SOLDIER ON…
3. SFGOV AND AIRBNB HAVE MADE A HASH OF THIS PROCESS SO FAR. THE CURRENT SYSTEM ISN’T WORKING, SORRY. THIS IS WHY PROP F QUALIFIED FOR THE BALLOT, RIGHT?
4. HEY, AREN’T MOST IN-LAW UNITS IN TOWN ALREADY “BANNED?” I THINK SO. I THINK IT’S BECAUSE THEY AREN’T CODE COMPLIANT. WHY SHOULDN’T WE LEGALIZE THESE UNITS FIRST, IF THAT’S WHAT WE WANT TO DO, AFORE WE START WORRYING ABOUT HOW MUCH MONEY WE CAN MAKE OFF OF THEM? AND IF THIS IN-LAW ISSUE IS SUCH A BIG CONCERN A FEW YEARS DOWN THE ROAD AFTER THE POSSIBLE LEGALIZATION OF THESE UNITS, WELL, THEN WE CAN VOTE AGAIN, RIGHT? PERHAPS THIS WILL BE A BIT CUMBERSOME, BUT THAT’S WHAT YOU GET WHEN YOU HAVE A REGULATORY CAPTURE SUCH AS THE ONE WE’RE IN.
So, IDK, am I missing something here? What am I missing? Any beef anybody has against Prop F is displaced anger – the people who created the current situation are the ones responsible. Oh what’s that, Airbnb, you say the rules from Prop F are “too extreme?” Well, that’s because, unlike the current regs, you didn’t write them. See how that works, Airbnb? Perhaps you should have cooked up a fairer set of rules for yourself, and then Prop F never would never have gone on the ballot, right?
So tell me, Gentle Reader, what am I missing here?
Otherwise, I’m a-voting YES ON PROP F.