San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera has filed two lawsuits against landlords in San Francisco for illegally converting their apartments into short-term rentals, which the property owners then marketed through online platforms such as Airbnb, Homeway, and VRBO.

“In the midst of a housing crisis of historic proportions, illegal short-term rental conversions of our scarce residential housing stock risks becoming a major contributing factor,” said Herrera. “[These] cases are the first among several housing-related matters under investigation by my office, and we intend to crack down hard on unlawful conduct that’s exacerbating – and in many cases profiting from – San Francisco’s alarming lack of affordable housing.”

If successful, the litigation could result in permanent court-ordered injunctions; civil penalties of up to $200 per day for Planning Code violations; up to $2,500 for each unlawful business act (i.e., rental); disgorgement of illegally obtained profits; and attorneys’ fees.

As we first reported in 2012: How To Lose Up To $1,000 A Day (Or Your Lease) Using Airbnb. At the time, there were 2,518 apartments in San Francisco listed on airbnb as short term rentals. As of last week, there were over 6,200 rentals listed.

The addresses and actions behind the two lawsuits:

According to one of Herrera’s civil actions, defendants Darren and Valerie Lee purchased 3073-3075 Clay Street in 2004, and invoked the Ellis Act in 2005 to evict their tenants from both of the property’s residential units. One of the evicted tenants was disabled. Evidence presented in the complaint found that the Lees have marketed 3075 Clay Street, a four-bedroom, three-bathroom property, for tourist lodging on such vacation websites such as Homeaway.com and VRBO.com since 2009, describing it as an “exquisitely renovated home, in prime Pacific Heights.” The Lees charged their guests between $395 and $595 per night for a minimum stay of three nights. But in doing so, the owners flouted the city’s required conditional use authorization process-depriving neighbors and city planners of their role to first determine whether the conversion is necessary or desirable; compatible with the neighborhood; detrimental to the City’s housing stock; or consistent with the city’s Planning Code or Planning Department’s General Plan.

According to Herrera’s complaint, San Francisco’s Planning Department repeatedly cited the Lees for their illegal use of the property for commercial tourist lodging, even collecting penalties of as much $250 per day for violations. The Lees – who at one point assured Planning Department officials that their illegal conduct had stopped – then defiantly resumed marketing and renting their property to tourists.

In 3073 Clay Street, the Lees evicted a disabled tenant who had lived in the unit for more than ten years and, until evicted, was paying $1,087 per month. By invoking the Ellis Act, the Lees were legally restricted until August 25, 2011, from re-renting the unit at market rate. But evidence presented in Herrera’s action shows that the Lees admitted to the Planning Department that they had, in fact, re‐rented 3073 Clay Street and charged their new residential tenants between $5,000-$7,038 per month.

Herrera’s other civil complaint against Lev, Tamara and Tatyana Yurovsky notes that they, too, used the Ellis Act to evict long‐term residential tenants – including one who was disabled – from one of their properties, at 734 Bay Street. Together with a residential unit at another of their properties owned by Lev and Tatyana and managed by Tamara, at 790 Bay Street, the Yurovskys illegally converted their apartments into tourist use beginning in 2010. They marketed the rentals to tourists on Airbnb.com and “greatsfvacation.com” for rates of between $165 and $320 per night, with three‐night minimum stays.

Though the Yurovsky defendants boasted on social media that they had hosted several hundred tourists, according to evidence detailed in the complaint, they too flouted the city’s conditional use authorization process, violating the San Francisco Planning Code and state law.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Jimmy The House Flipper

    Shoot! That was one of my business plans for a building I looked at last year. Something about trampling the law that flagrantly… just didn’t seem prudent. Even if I disagree with the law. It’ll be interesting to see what happens next. Will the old tenants move back in?

  2. Posted by anon

    Heck, these guys will be lucky if they get away with civil penalties. Violating the 30-day law, i.e. renting out an apartment for transient use (less than 30 days), is a criminal violation, punishable by 6 mos. jail time. Now some D.A. prosecutions would get the attention some airbnb-ers.

  3. Posted by parklife

    Of course I note that the D.A. did not identify any tenants that illegally rented their units out. Herrera targeted property owners only to make a political point rather than merely enforcing the law.

  4. Posted by poor.ass.millionaire

    It’s getting crazier by the minute for property owners in SF. But so far, it looks like the trigger is evicting disabled or elderly, so maybe all the other short term renters are safe for now. And we will have to see what happends with the new legislation addressing this. There’s been so much crap coming out from the city against small property owners, it’s hard to keep track of it all. Since I don’t do short term rentals, this is one less clusterf*ck i’ze got to deal with. Thank god.

  5. Posted by anon

    New York is also cracking down on illegal AirBNB rentals. When your entire business model is premised on getting people to break the law, and then giving you a cut of the illegal proceeds, you’re going to attract the attention of law enforcement officials!
    I have a new app idea – CrackBNB. You turn your apartment, or just one room, into a crack house, and advertise it through CrackBNB. Then you give CrackBNB a 10% cut. You see, it is “tech” and therefore should be encouraged. Also – Property rights! Anyone know some good VCs where I can get funding?

  6. Posted by APDweller

    I believe Yurovsky is president of Aquatic Park Neighbors, one of the more reactionary, busy-body neighborhood activist groups in the City who use their distortions of the planning process to stand in the way of pretty much anything that alters their neighborhood: she’s turned them into a “veto organization”, just like THD and RHN, who the City usually dare not upset. Funny that she’s one of the ones accused of skirting planning laws in order to make a quick buck. Hypocrit.

  7. Posted by gribble

    One comment about all these articles that mention “disabled’ tenants: Most of the disabled labels are complete bull. In practice lawyers steer their clients to Dr’s that will write them a letter declaring them ‘disabled.’
    In our building one of our tenants was declared ‘disabled’ because he has a degenerative disc and high blood pressure. He travels all over the world on business, hikes everywhere, but can be declared ‘disabled’ because the Ellis Act doesn’t make clear what entails disability. His roomie is disabled because he has a long-term managed disease that also does not prevent him from working or going out partying every night (and bringing home hookers/party boys who drop meth pipes on the floor).
    It is a way for lawyers, a few Drs and those being evicted to make a couple extra bucks out of the whole deal.
    So take with a grain of salt anybody being labeled as disabled in any article about the Ellis Act.

  8. Posted by wonkster

    Even if you take the “disabled” label “with a grain of salt” what these people were doing was flagrantly illegal regardless of whether the evicted tenants were truly disabled. If you don’t like the laws that apply to a piece of real estate, don’t buy it.

  9. Posted by lol

    I’ll add that a tenant who has spent decades paying $1K/month to live in a prime Pacific Heights property has been removed from the normal gravitational forces of Planet Earth and is therefore disabled much like a Space Station astronaut when he lands back with us mere mortals.
    Their backbone muscles have atrophied, they can’t walk, they have to wear a neck brace (thank god their lawyer Saul probably has a large supply of these), their hearts have to readjust to pumping blood to their brains.
    Yeah they’re disabled alright. Unable to live like normal human beings with a job that pays for the cost of living in beautiful SF. I’ll say they deserve 2 years free rent and then some if someone dares to submit them to this horrible mean gravity thing.

  10. Posted by Rillion

    But LOL I thought they were all millionares with second homes in Tahoe. Can’t we at least come up with a consistent way to mock the rent controlled tenants?

  11. Posted by anon

    The millionaire rent-controlled tenant is a shibboleth. And for that reason, those arguing the point lose credibility.
    LOL’s post above is closer to the truth. A huge number of rent controlled tenants simply could not afford market rent. So what do we do about that from a policy perspective? The status quo is to have private landlords provide a private subsidy to a single individual, with nothing paid by or to the general public. That is a ridiculous policy in itself (you don’t need the “millionaire” myth to establish that). However, changing the status quo involves very complicated policy decisions about what to do about the thousands of people who would become displaced by the change. “Screw-em” is simple, but not a viable policy. The discussion also would have to involve the landlord-favored laws out there, like Prop 13 and building restrictions.
    We are a nation of laws, and clearly landlords cannot be permitted to simply disregard the law and turn their units into illegal hotels. If they want to lobby and successfully permit that, or to end rent control, so be it. But we don’t let individuals pick and choose which laws they abide by (personally, Id rather not pay taxes than eliminate rent control, but I’m not going to just ignore the tax laws). SF politicians are too stupid and short-sighted to meaningfully deal with rent control. That is the root of the problem.

  12. Posted by lol

    Rillion, please point me to the post where I said “All”. Please take your time.
    Seriously, can’t you see the slight irony behind my post?

  13. Posted by invented

    This Herrera stuff is avoidance of the elephant in the room; the utter lack of Planning vision and action to address the crisis. We need to create realistic zoning guidelines for select areas. Currently quaint, low rise buildings on our transit corridors; one under built building after the next.
    Why wouldn’t I do short term while maintaining my other suffocating rent-stabilized property? Are we complete idiots? I’m losing count of the number of apartments on my one block alone that have removed their units from the rental stock.
    Add Flipkey, Roomerama — Airbnb is our local one, but there’s a lot more activity then realized.

  14. Posted by voters_gonna_vote

    Herrera has always been a grandstander, which is why his many efforts to move up have been stymied by voters. We have a core population of maybe a few hundred really bad news characters who do most of the crime in the city, from car break-ins (spreading since mid-market redevelopment pushed them outward) to street robberies. But Dennis doesn’t do anything because it won’t get him a headline.

  15. Posted by parklife

    Would it be legal to merely structure a short term lease agreement for 31 days with the provision that a tenant could cancel the lease early with no penalty? That would seem to get around the law with the only downside the possible application of rent control if the tenant elected to stay past the 31 day period (unlikely at the higher, short-term rate).

  16. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    invented, I think your’re correct that AirBnB isn’t the only one, but they’ve been the most flagrant about facilitating lawbreaking, and it seems (I haven’t done a study), that they are the preferred site by speculators who take whole buildings off the rental market in order to make short term rentals available “on-line”.
    And to your first point, The City could do all the upzoning they want, that in and of itself isn’t going to put dramatically more rental units on the market in a short time frame. Cracking down on speculators coming in, buying a building and putting most of the units on AirBnb will at least slow down the process of rental units exiting the market in a short time frame, and so while landlords who want to engage in casual lawbreaking won’t like it, cracking down as the City Attorney appears to be doing, passes the test of marginal increase in utility.

  17. Posted by wonkster

    Herrera is not the D.A., he’s the city attorney. The city attorney generally deals only with civil matters, although certain nuisance violations related to crime are sometimes brought as civil matters (e.g., the internet cafe gambling stuff).
    Looking at the lawsuits and exhibits, it seems these folks were given lots of warnings and simply ignored them (the Clay Street folks were first notified they were in violation almost 5 years ago).
    As with enforcement of many regulations, the authorities only have so many resources. They often bring a few cases to send the message to others (tax enforcement and insider trading laws come to mind). The few cases they bring are usually egregious (or the people involved are famous -Wesley Snipes and Martha Stewart, for example). While Harrera might be accused of “grandstanding” the point of any enforcement action like this is to get the message out to others, as the city can hardly bring hundreds or thousands of such actions.

  18. Posted by lol

    parklife,
    I don’t see how you could implement that without having 2 reactions: 1 – confusion from the guests, 2 – outrage from the populists

  19. Posted by anon

    The code confers standing on “nonprofit” groups to file complaints against those who rent out places for less than 30 days. And they even get their attorney fees paid if they win. The facts are easy to establish — do like Herrara did and just look for recent “comments” on airbnb that list the rental dates. I’m surprised all the out of work lawyers have not formed a bunch of nonprofits solely to file these types of cases. That’s what I would do if I were an unemployed recent law grad, and there are tons of those.

  20. Posted by J

    It’s pretty rich when rent-control advocates cry about evictions when they are the ones causing the evictions in the first place. No rent control = no evictions. The latest is some woman who is getting evicted after 27 years of rent control. She was protesting outside her landlord’s apartment in Marin. Am I supposed to feel sorry for someone who has lived with a huge subsidy for 27 years? Let me grab my violin. And you didn’t save a dime in those 27 years that you can use now?
    Furthermore, these tenant advocates are essentially saying that the people who were here first are more important than newcomers. Incredibly xenophobic and hypocritical, considering these people also claim to have “progressive values”. The media is complicit in framing landlords as evil speculators. Even in cases where there is a serial speculator buying a property and then using the Ellis-Act, the only reason the previous owner is selling in the first place is because they can’t get market value from the absurd rent-controlled income.
    And then, amidst what everyone agrees is a housing crisis, Jane Kim proposes legislation that will pretty much end all new development in the ONLY part of SF where development moves the needle? Brilliant job Jane, brilliant.

  21. Posted by Rome is Burning

    One reason we are saddled with Herreras in public office is that the Chron simply reprinted his carefully crafted press release, a version of which will show up in his campaign materials. “White Knight Rides to Rescue” when the practice is extremely widespread, accepted, and rarely as abusive as the cases he cherry picked. Please Chron, a little journalism please?

  22. Posted by Keepitup

    I’ll be curious to see how much it cost the city attorney to prosecute this case. How much staff time is devoted.
    Then multiply the cost of this case by 15,000 or more. (If I remember correctly that’s number of units that are using this new “sharing economy” model to make a buck…or “profit” as the goons at the tenants union like to refer to it).
    Let’s see if the CA has enough money in his budget to pursue all the scofflaws. Or if he’s cherry picking an easy case for headlines. They used the Ellis act to empty their building…so this should be easy pickings for the CA if they continued to rent the building. I hope the CA wins in this case.
    But as for the rest…..
    Let’s consider the tax bite to the city coffers. The current hotel room situation is maxed out. So lets eliminate 15,000 opportunities for tourist to bring their money into SF.
    Eliminate the 14% hotel tax and sales tax revenue the city gets by turning a blind eye to a truly horrible horrible situation.
    My bet, the CA goes after the low hanging fruit and then fades back into the back ground after the elections.

  23. Posted by anon

    Here is where the D.A. really should get involved in this – prosecute these people for perjury for lying under oath in the administrative process. Our entire legal system depends on receiving evidence under oath – i.e. under penalty of perjury if you lie. If you simply ignore it when people do commit perjury, it will become even more prevalent, and our legal system will bog down horribly. You need to prosecute people who submit false affidavits to send a loud and clear message that you will not be better off by committing perjury; rather you will make things much worse.

  24. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    Keepitup: please read what wonkster wrote at 10:28 AM.
    There’s such a thing as prosecutorial discretion. No, the CA does not have enough money in his budget to pursue all the scofflaws, or even the vast majority of them. That’s why he chooses to go after the most high-profile and/or most brazen perpetrators.
    And most of the “property sharing” sites don’t collect the hotel tax, and most of the people using these sites are doing so for the primary reason that they get to avoid taxes. That is to say, the fact that it’s illegal is what makes it so lucrative.

  25. Posted by soccermom

    “The status quo is to have private landlords provide a private subsidy to a single individual, with nothing paid by or to the general public. That is a ridiculous policy in itself (you don’t need the “millionaire” myth to establish that). However, changing the status quo involves very complicated policy decisions about what to do about the thousands of people who would become displaced by the change. “Screw-em” is simple, but not a viable policy.”
    Thank you. That is very well put.
    Now, I’mma I’mma let you finish, but first lemme solve the city’s affordable housing prollem:
    1. Abolish rent control so that the city collectively solves the housing crisis instead of a subset of private landlords.
    2. Develop new revenue streams to support tenants in need with a tenant assistance program:
    a. Sell a private developer a 100 year leasehold on piers 30-32 to build a 750 foot market rate residential lease-only tower where 35% of gross rents will be paid to the city of San Francisco to fund the new tenant-assistance program (pt. 3 below) for the life of the lease. Port has to give the site to the city under eminent domain, a housing crisis etc..
    b. Require every new residential lease signed in the city to have a $50 per month surcharge payable by the tenant directly to the city (or $25 tenant, $25 landlord) to fund the new tenant assistance program. Spreading the cost over all tenants would encourage self-policing of the tenant assistance program.
    3. Set up a new need-based tenant assistance program wherein each applicant would demonstrate her case for need (income, assets, disabilities, special circumstances). Make each case file available for public audit. Provide incentives for whistleblowers to identify those abusing the system.
    This program:
    – Keeps housing assistance distributed throughout the city as it is now.
    – Makes housing subsidies a need-based program instead of a seniority-based program.
    – Helps the entire city bear the cost of solving our housing crisis. Shouldn’t we all be in this together? One San Francisco!

  26. Posted by soccermom

    While we are at it, re-envision all of the ineptly run San Francisco Housing Authority properties and add that property and those people into the mix.
    Housing Authority properties present 100 year leasehold opportunities for private developers like the hypothesized pier 30-32 project. Former residents in these projects receive need-based assistance they can use anywhere in the city.
    Spreading lower income households throughout the city will help alter cycles of poor socio-economic outcomes endemic to the Housing Authority pockets.

  27. Posted by Keepitup

    @Brahma (incensed renter)
    Yep not all are paying the 14% hotel tax. But every visitor brings buckets of cash into the city and spends that cash on food, trinkets, attractions…etc.
    That cash pays the wages of Waiters,retail clerks, busboy’s, tourist operators, cab drives….etc.
    The city reeps a portion of the 9.5% sales tax on every dollar spent in SF.
    So yep maybe some of the folks doing this type of business are scofflaws by not paying the 14% tax, but they still provide the city a service the hotel industry can’t.
    The visitors they house still bring buckets of cash into the city to support our service jobs and tourist industry….by the way, what is it that you contribute to the economy of SF? I see you don’t even pay property tax by your moniker…”incensed renter”.

  28. Posted by anon

    How do you think landlords get the funds to pay property taxes? From the rents paid by their tenants.
    The “tourists pay sales taxes and taxis, etc.” argument doesn’t really fly. A resident in those illegal hotel rooms would also buy things and pay sales taxes. Even if this argument did have merit, AirBNB-ers should put the evidence before the supes/voters and get the laws changed. My CrackBnB guests pay for taxis too — so I guess I’m benefiting society so I get to break the law.

  29. Posted by Rillion

    >Seriously, can’t you see the slight irony behind my post?
    Of course I can, which is why I teased you about it. Renters taking advantage of rent control are fun to mock but the reality is that they represent the entire range of the population of SF, yet somehow they are all mockable for using the existing system for their economic advantage. Insulting the various types of people taking advantage of rent control might be fun but you might as well just make fun of everyone cause there are all types of people doing it and behaving rationally by using the system for their advantage.

  30. Posted by Unwarrantedinlaw

    You have about six posts today demanding police action against propery owners, anon. Nothing upsets you guys more than when people seek to evade your totalitarian strictures.

  31. Posted by anon

    Unwarrantedinlaw, are you kidding me? Prosecute those who violate the criminal laws in numerous ways? I’m agin such totalitarian acts! Now, please download my CrackBnB app and join me in the freedom revolution!

  32. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    New York is also cracking down on illegal AirBNB rentals. When your entire business model is premised on getting people to break the law, and then giving you a cut of the illegal proceeds, you’re going to attract the attention of law enforcement officials!

    Yep.
    From earlier this month, Two-thirds of NYC’s Airbnb rentals are illegal sublets:

    Nearly two-thirds of the city apartments recently listed on Airbnb were being offered in violation of the law…the study of data from the subletting service’s own Web site showed 64 percent of its 19,500-plus offerings for Jan. 31 covered an “entire apartment,” says an affidavit from the state Attorney General’s Office.

    By law, a “permanent resident” must be present to sublet an apartment for fewer than 30 days.

    In addition, more than 200 of the offerings came from just five “hosts,” suggesting third parties were renting out pads on behalf of their owners.

    …The affidavit will be filed in court Monday by state AG Eric Schneiderman’s office, sources said. The AG is heading to court Tuesday to subpoena Airbnb records to identify users who are illegally renting out apartments.

    …Court filings by the AG’s Office say Airbnb is fueling an underground industry of “illegal hotels” that has led to a surge in complaints about parties that leave “vomit and baggage strewn in hallways” and other problems.

    Go read the whole thing.
    AirBnB and the other sites like it are a scourge.

  33. Posted by lol

    Brahma, are they “illegal sublets” or illegal rentals? Nothing probably points to the places being rented out by tenants.
    I agree they should crack down on illegal sublets and evict tenants who are breaking the law. Especially in SF…
    But I am certain Gullicksen or another genius will beg to let these people stay in “their” home.

  34. Posted by unwarrantedinlaw

    OK anon, that’s seven posts from you calling for property owners to be arrested. And yes, I’m saying that nonsense laws need to be evaded and ignored. The people I know who are doing airbnb are happy to earn some extra income and aren’t harming anyone.

  35. Posted by anon

    unwarrantedinlaw, I’m with you! We need to leave it up to each individual in our society to decide which laws are “nonsense” and “need to be evaded.”
    The people I know turning tricks at night in driveways and selling meth on the corner are also happy to earn some extra income and aren’t harming anyone. And even the murderers I know are only harming bad people, so their acts are a net gain to society.

  36. Posted by Jimmy The House Flipper

    “totalitarian strictures”!! I love it! I’m going to make sure to use that in conversation this week. I can tell you that, having suffered through some fairly vicious litigation in past years… being sued by the city sounds unpleasant, expensive and ultimately counter-productive.
    If I were the owners, I’d convert those buildings to TIC and sell them pronto. And then park the money somewhere far, far away. Or buy gold bars and bury them.

  37. Posted by Jimmy The House Flipper

    “totalitarian strictures”!! I love it! I’m going to make sure to use that in conversation this week. I can tell you that, having suffered through some fairly vicious litigation in past years… being sued by the city sounds unpleasant, expensive and ultimately counter-productive.
    If I were the owners, I’d convert those buildings to TIC and sell them pronto. And then park the money somewhere far, far away. Or buy gold bars and bury them.

  38. Posted by EH

    Whatever you think of rent-control, you have to admit the landlords charged have screwed themselves.

  39. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    lol, my reading of the story (I haven’t see the complaint, nor am I a lawyer licensed to practice in New York) was that NYC isn’t drawing a distinction between units being advertised on the on-line short-term rentals market either by a tenant or a property owner. The usage of the term “sublet” in the news piece is irrelevant.
    If it’s an illegal hotel room, it’s an illegal hotel room, full stop. And that’s the way it should be in S.F. as well.

  40. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    Keepitup @ 12:25 PM: taking your last point first, tenants pay property taxes indirectly, because property taxes are a portion of the landlord’s business expenses, otherwise known as “overhead” (if you don’t understand this concept, check out IRS Schedule C). So I and other tenants do pay property taxes, it’s just that I pay it (+ profit) to a landlord who in turn pays it to the state.
    I would agree that every visitor brings buckets of cash into the city and that whatever they spend gets taxed via sales taxes, etc. That’s a red herring.
    Your implicit claim that if AirBnB and sites like it didn’t exist, the people what patronize those sites would never visit S.F. strains credulity. Tourists decide that they are going to visit S.F. and then decide that they either:
    • Want amenities that are commonly available from homes advertised on AirBnB (like a detached SFH kitchen), but would be expensive to rent legitimately, or (more often)
    • don’t want to pay for a legit hotel and go to AirBnB and scope out the same kinds of amenities that would be available for less money because it’s not a legitimate hotel.

  41. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    From the post above:

    Evidence presented in the complaint found…a four-bedroom, three-bathroom property, for tourist lodging on such vacation websites such as Homeaway.com and VRBO.com since 2009, describing it as an “exquisitely renovated home, in prime Pacific Heights.” The Lees charged their guests between $395 and $595 per night for a minimum stay of three nights.

    Let’s do a back-of-the-envelope here.
    Assume that the average rent paid was $495 per night. I have no good sense for what an expected vacancy rate for an AirBnB-type short term rental is, but The Lees required a minimum three night stay, so let’s say twenty percent vacancy, for a total of 292 nights occupied per year.
    I get about $145k per year gross revenue for one property alone. I think they’ll be able to easily pay for a robust legal defense, of either the civil or criminal variety.
    What’d be entertaining would be for one of their lawyers to float the argument that city planning and land use laws are “totalitarian strictures” and that “nonsense laws need to be evaded and ignored” as a defense in court. That’s a trial I’d be happy to take time off from work to sit through. If there’s a God, I’ll get summoned, make it through voir dire and get seated on the jury.

  42. Posted by lol

    Brahma, airbnb probablh adds tourists to SF. Hotel capacity has been diminished with care-not-cash (seedy hotel capacity that is) and demand for hotels is still going strong.
    If a city runs at full capacity there cannot be more visitors. This is where the b&b model fits pretty well.
    Another factor to consider: many airbnb listings are located outside of legacy tourist areas. How many tourist hotels in the Mission? In the Castro? Who in this day of instant area check would want to stay on the 101 on Lombard? On the wharf? Yet this is where many tourists have to stay today.
    airbnb serves a purpose and this is not the zero sum game of scofflaws picking up someone’s pockets that we could see if we looked at things from the outside.

  43. Posted by SciLaw

    Yay!! AirBnB serves a purpose. That’s it? That’s your defense?
    Why don’t you then serve your “purpose” within the laws. Pay taxes on your earning. Don’t violate your lease contract (and don’t violate your HOA rules).
    There, more than half the complaining goes away if you follow the damn laws and regulations….(that surprisingly the hotels have to follow).

  44. Posted by Hitman
  45. Posted by poor.ass.millionaire

    Isn’t chiu putting together some (more) legislation to make airbnb, etc. legal and kosher? They’ll collect the 14% hotel tax, you’ll need to register, and sublet clauses are still in effect for renters, so most landlords will still be protected from their tenants attempts to profit. But LL’s will then be able to short term lease their properties. I win-win in my book, unless I’m missing something.

  46. Posted by lol

    SciLaw,
    Before you flamed you should have done a bit of homework on my track record. As a landlord I do airbnb for > 30 days at least until some legal framework is defined for shorter term rentals. My place wasn’t a rental when I purchased it, it was owner-occupied. Therefore I have added an extra unit to the rental market.
    If one of my guests says his stay constitutes a rent controlled lease, I will be very happy to oblige. At the airbnb rate ;)
    There is a difference between approving of people who break the law and simply saying that there is a legitimate need that needs fulfilling.
    The question is: how do you show such a need exists? If a sole person goes to his rep and says “I think we would all benefit from having a way to do short term rentals through an app” his request will be sent to the dust bin. What airbnb did was start the business first and make it grow big enough that now local authorities have to ask themselves the right questions. This is what’s happening now. The method is debatable, but the issue had to be raised.

  47. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    p.a.m: You recall correctly, but it doesn’t look like it’s getting anywhere.
    From The San Francisco Bay Guardian, Airbnb isn’t sharing:

    Board of Supervisors President David Chiu has been in negotiations with Airbnb, similar companies, the Hotel Council of San Francisco, and other interested parties to develop legislation to address the “legal grey area” they occupy…”The shareable economy has raised many new and complicated public policy issues,” Chiu told us. “Crafting legislation on shareable housing spaces has taken longer than expected because of these complications, but we hope to have something in the coming months.”

    Chiu has staked out a middle ground on the shared housing issue, in the past authoring legislation that challenged the “hotelization” of San Francisco apartments by corporations seeking to get around local tenant protections, expressing hope that his legislation will legalize Airbnb’s activities in ways that both its supporters and critics can live with.

    I say it doesn’t look like it’s getting anywhere because that was in March. Of 2013.
    AirBnB isn’t Amazon.com. If they collect taxes, most of their business model breaks down, although I doubt that they’ll still remain in business if they are coerced into compliance with the law. That $475 million will go a long, long way.
    [Editor’s Note: Law Would Ban Full-Time Airbnb Rentals, Require Registration.]

  48. Posted by lol

    If they collect taxes, most of their business model breaks down
    And how is that? My opinion is that we’ll likely see rates going up by a few % while hosts will collect a few % less. Maybe it will be 7/7 or 4/10 or 10/4 or whatever. And airbnb might decide to lower their cut as well to cushion the blow. After all, the only moving parts are handled by the host/guests. The rest is done automatically. Most of what airbnb has to do is CRM and other things done in an office.
    I doubt that they’ll still remain in business if they are coerced into compliance with the law.
    SF is only one city over 1000s plus I am confident they’ll find a way. In big cities like SF and NYC there will always be the extended stay business. I have generated $1000s for airbnb in commission so far these past 18 months with my kick ass hosting. The lights will stay on at airbnb with my fees alone, no worries ;)

  49. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    That was a typo. I meant to say I doubt that they’ll go out of business even if they are forced into compliance because $475 million will go a long, long way.

  50. Posted by Great-great-grandmother

    As egregious, and incendiary as the comments are, that were made by former Los Angeles Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, producing the results handed to him, and justly so. We can only hope, that for those individuals involved in the constant abuse of the elderly, at the hands of property owners, management companies, their representatives, the judges, and law firms supporting this abuse of the elderly. Will produce those same kinds of results, in the commercial and residential real estate market. Especially when, court documented proof, letters from attorneys and law firms are presented, saying; we support this abuse of the elderly and those in real estate who do so. Of which there are plenty. Publish that proof everywhere.

  51. Posted by Fairer Minded

    “Abuse of the elderly” ???
    Landlord has been subsidizing said elderly peraon’s life for years, and that’s somehow “abuse”?
    How about all the people who say this sort of thing pool their money, and buy real estate? Then insert the same elderly tenants for what they (tenants and landlord) decide is fair? David Campos can contribute 1/4 of his salary in order to aid the process, and edjudicate?

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