Nov 5 2015

SF Citizens Vote Down Prop F Restrictions on AirBnB Type Overnight Rentals

Voters choose “No” 55.06% to 44.94% defeating Proposition F, an initiative to prohibit short-term rentals of Second Units and permit enforcement through resident legal action. What will Piedmont decide?

The San Francisco Bay Area is world famous as a desirable travel and vacation location, making Piedmont a sought after lodging area with proximity to the University of California, Oakland and San Francisco. 

While the Piedmont Planning Commission and City Council consider what to do about the AirBnB type short-term rental issue, San Francisco’s voters have settled it in San Francisco by their vote on Tuesday, November 3, 2015.  The election was watched not only in San Francisco, but throughout the world. 

San Francisco allows second units to be rented for short-terms for up to a total of 90 days per year. Proposition F intended to completely prohibited short-term rentals of second units. It also would have reduced all other short-term rentals from a limit of 90 days per year to a maximum of 75 days per year.

Ballot language:

Measure F Short-Term Residential Rentals — City and County of San Francisco 

Shall the City limit short-term rentals of a housing unit to 75 days per year regardless of whether the rental is hosted or unhosted; require owners to provide proof that they authorize the unit as a short-term rental; require residents who offer short-term rentals to submit quarterly reports on the number of days they live in the unit and the number of days the unit is rented; prohibit short-term rentals of in-law units; allow interested parties to sue hosting platforms; and make it a misdemeanor for a hosting platform to unlawfully list a unit as a short-term rental? Yes or No

Ballotpedia explained Prop F:

The initiative was motivated by and targeted websites such as Airbnb and 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.

Opponents of Prop F focused their advertisements on the proposition’s implementation strategy,”authorizing private action lawsuits by “interested parties”—defined as anyone living within 100 feet—against those suspected of violating the law.”  Proponents found that enforcement of the current 90-day limit had been inadequate. 

Final campaign financial reporting is not complete, however AirBnB had spent over $5 million to proponents’ $300,000.  Mayor Ed Lee and Former Mayor, now Lieutenant Governor, Gavin Newsom opposed the measure, while Senator and Rormer Mayor Dianne Feinstein, and Former Mayor Art Agnos supported Measure F.

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