Airbnb is pulling out all the stops here.
Let me just say that first of all, no “minor” violations of San Francisco’s short term rental laws will result in anything like a $435K award. Sorry. And also, by the time any “awards” are handed out, said violations are no longer merely “alleged,” but actually proven.
And now, on with the show:
“Noted Law Firm Browne George Ross LLP Provides Review of Legal Impacts of San Francisco’s Prop. F
Proposition F creates a profit-motivated private right of action even if the City and County of San Francisco finds no violation.
WELL, LET’S SEE HERE. A PRIVATE RIGHT OF ACTION ALREADY EXISTS, RIGHT? YEP. WHAT PROP F ADDS ON TOP OF THIS IS AN ADDITIONAL PENALTY OF $250-$1000 A DAY, ASSUMING THAT THE RESIDENTS BRINGING SUIT ACTUALLY WIN. THE REASON THAT THIS ACTION WOULD BE ALLOWED INDEPENDENT OF WHAT SFGOV DOES IS THAT SOMETIMES SFGOV LIKES TO SIT ON ITS HANDS AND DO NOTHING, SIMILAR TO THE WAY THAT IT’S DONE VERY LITTLE TO REGULATE SHORT TERM RENTALS THE LIKES OF WHICH WE’VE BEEN SEEING THE PAST TEN YEARS, AND, IN FACT, THE LITTLE THAT SFGOV HAS BEEN DOING LATELY WAS SPURRED ON BY THE PROSPECT OF PROP F. SO ACTUALLY, PROP F IS GOOD BECAUSE IT’S ALREADY PAYING OFF. AND, AS FAR AS “PROFIT-MOTIVATED” IS CONCERNED, SOMETHING SIMILAR IS ALREADY IN CALIFORNIA LAW REGARDING LANDLORD REFUNDS OF RENTAL DEPOSITS. SO IF A LANDLORD IMPROPERLY RETAINS AN APARTMENT SECURITY DEPOSIT, THE TENANT CAN SUE FOR NOT ONLY THE WRONGFULLY RETAINED PART BUT ALSO AN AMOUNT DOUBLE THE DEPOSIT AS A KIND OF SPECIAL DAMAGES. SO A LANDLORD’S MOUTHPIECE COULD ARGUE THAT THE TENANT SUING IS “PROFIT-MOTIVATED,” BUT THAT WOULDN’T ACTUALLY BE TRUE, RIGHT? AND IN FACT, THIS RENTAL DEPOSIT REFUND LAW SCARES LANDLORDS INTO DOING THE RIGHT THING, SO THAT NO LEGAL ACTION EVER NEEDS TO GET KICKED INTO ACTION. SEE HOW THAT WORKS?
In other words if someone wishes to sue their neighbor even after the city and County of San Francisco has determined there is no violation, an unscrupulous individual can still file a lawsuit and simply claim damages amounting to as much as $435,000 plus attorneys’ fees and costs.
WELL, THIS LOS ANGELES-BASED LAW FIRM IS SIMPLY ASSUMING THAT THE PROPERTY OWNER USING AIRBNB OR WHATEVER TO VIOLATE OUR LAWS WOULD BE A NEIGHBOR OF THE SAN FRANCISCO RESIDENTS AFFECTED. BUT LOTS OF AIRBNBERS DON’T EVEN LIVE IN SF, RIGHT? SO IT’S RATHER MORE RESIDENT SUING AIRBNBER AS OPPOSED TO “NEIGHBOR SUING NEIGHBOR,” RIGHT? AND HEY, HOW CAN AN “UNSCRUPULOUS INDIVIDUAL” GET AN ATTORNEY TO REPRESENT THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE, RIGHT? AND HEY, “NOTED” LA LAW FIRM WHAT I’VE NEVER HEARD OF AFORE, HAVE ANY OF YOU EVER REPRESENTED AN “UNSCRUPULOUS INDIVIDUAL?” HMMM… THAT’S SOMETHING TO THINK ON. IN ANY EVENT, UNSCRUPULOUS INDIVIDUALS WITH WORTHLESS CASES WON’T WIN AT COURT SO THEY WON’T GET ANY DAMAGES AT ALL, RIGHT? AND LET ME JUST SAY, ANY AIRBNBER WHO ACTUALLY ENDS UP PAYING $435K PLUS HAS REALLY REALLY REALLY SCREWED UP. THESE WILL BE UNIQUE PEOPLE, CERTAINLY.
Because litigation is so incredibly expensive, time consuming and stressful many people will pay to get out of suits even though they have done nothing wrong.
BOY, WHAT A PITCH FROM A LAW FIRM – YOU DON’T NEED US, JUST PAY ALL THE MONEY ANYBODY EVER ASKS FOR AND THEN WAIT FOR THE NEWS TO SPREAD AND THEN GET SUED AGAIN AND AGAIN. AND NOTE HERE, I’M NOT ARGUING THAT PROP F IS GOOD FOR AIRBNBERS (ALTHOUGH IT MIGHT ACTUALLY BE GOOD FOR SOME) – I’M SAYING THAT PROP F IS GOOD FOR SAN FRANCISCO. AND ACTUALLY, PROP F WOULD BE GOOD FOR LOS ANGELES LAW FIRMS, POSSIBLY, IF LA-BASED AIRBNBERS GET SUED IN SF AND THEY WANT TO HAVE A LOCAL ATTORNEY, THEN MAYBE EVEN THIS LA FIRM COULD GET IN ON THE ACTION.
Proposition F will exponentially exacerbate the problem by encouraging an untold number of new lawsuits, thus delaying even more those who appropriately seek justice through San Francisco Superior Court
WELL LET’S SEE HERE. PROP F WILL BE BUT A DROP IN THE BUCKET AS FAR AS SF SUP CT IS CONCERNED. IT’S NOT GOING TO EXPONENTIALLY DO ANYTHING.