Sep 17 2015

San Francisco Prop F Would Use Lawsuits to Limit Short Term Rentals

Prop F Empowers Neighbors to Crack Down on Short Term Rentals in San Francisco – 

A proposition on the November 3 ballot in San Francisco takes an unusual approach to enforce limitations on AirBnB/VRBO/Flip Key type rentals. Prop F would prohibit short-term rentals of second units and limit other short-term rentals to 75 days per year, which is far more than the typical AirBnB online rental by San Francisco hosts. According to a report by San Francisco’s budget analyst, 70% of AirBnB hosts in the city rent only a few weekends per year, receiving a total annual payment of $3120 from AirBnB.

Prof F encourages neighbors within 100 feet to sue hosts of brief visitors renting through online services.  Plaintiffs who win in court would be entitled to special damages of $250 to $1,000 a day on top of attorney fees and costs. It also allows various parties to sue hosting platforms like Airbnb in addition to individual hosts.

Ballotpedia Sf reports:

This measure would impose restrictions on private, short-term housing rentals. It would restrict all such private rentals to only 75 nights per year and impose provisions designed to ensure such private rentals are paying hotel taxes and following city code. It would also require guest and revenue reports from rental hosts and “hosting platforms” every three months. Moreover, Proposition F was designed to prohibit the use of “in-law” units for short-term rentals and enact regulations concerning privacy, peace and quiet. Proposition F would allow enforcement of its provisions by the city, as well as authorizing private action lawsuits by “interested parties”—defined as anyone living within 100 feet—against those suspected of violating the law.

The initiative was motivated by and targets websites such as Airbnb or Homeaway, which feature rental listings nation- and world-wide. It was proposed by a coalition of unions, land owners, housing advocates and neighborhood groups called Share Better SF. In the interest of easy enforcement, the initiative would focus on penalties for websites that post rental listings that do not comply with city law, as well as punishing individual home owners or sub-leasers. The fines proposed for websites featuring illegal posts range from $250 to $1,000 per day for each non-compliant post. Estimates show the fines for a website such as Airbnb could add up to millions of dollars unless a way was found to keep listings in accordance with city law.

Airbnb has responded with a media campaign against the measure through a political committee, SF for Everyone, No on Proposition F.

Two related ordinances are under consideration by the city’s Board of Supervisors, one would limit short-term rentals to 60 days per year and the other would impose a  120 days per year limit.

Share Better SF web ad supporting Prop F.

Airbnb web ad opposing Prop F.

SF Chronicle article.


Leave a Comment