Sep 17 2015

San Francisco Requires Insurance, Special Tax, Permit for AirBnb Type Rentals

San Francisco’s New Short-Term Rental Law and Office

San Francisco bans all residential rentals of less than 30 days unless the hosts have a conditional use permit – an expensive and cumbersome process, according to its supporters.  San Francisco’s new short-term rental law became effective on February 1, 2015. (Ordinance 218-14)  To administer the new category an Office of Short-Term Rental (OSTR) was created. After an in-person appointment with a staff member of the OSTR office once the applicant has certificates from both the City Treasurer and the City Tax Collector and provides proof of liability insurance for the rental in the amount of $500,000 or more, etc. The Short-Term Residential Rental Registry allows this type of rental.  San Francisco’s budget analyst reported in May that  23 – 40% of potential housing for San Francisco residents were instead rented to short-term visitors.

San Francisco defines those who rent out rooms for more than seven days per month or a whole unit for five days per month as Commercial Hosts. Casual Hosts (70%) rent a few weekends per year. The report finds that Commercial Hosts are motivated by the opportunity to net more income with several short-term rentals than a full time tenant, regardless of neighborhood. During 2014 there were 6,113 listings on AirBNB, with 4,191 occasional or “Casual Hosts” earning $260/month city-wide average and 1,191 “Commercial Hosts” earning $2440/month city-wide average.

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