The backers of the proposed ballot measure which would clampdown on illegal short-term rentals and Airbnb’s business in San Francisco by instituting the “Neighborhood Preservation and Public Revenue Recovery Ordinance” have amended the ordinance to eliminate the explicit threat of criminal prosecution and incarceration for scofflaws.
The amendment, however, simply removes a bit of duplicative language from the ordinance which would become Chapter 41B of the San Francisco Administrative Code. For as plugged-in people should know, according to San Francisco Administrative Code Chapter 41A, it is already unlawful for any owner to offer an apartment unit for rent in San Francisco for an occupancy of less than 30-days.
And in addition to civil penalties, Chapter 41A includes criminal penalties as well:
Any owner who rents an apartment unit for tourist or transient use as defined by [Chapter 41A] shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Any person convicted of a misdemeanor hereunder shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by imprisonment in the County Jail for a period of not more than six months, or by both. Each apartment unit rented for tourist or transient use shall constitute a separate offense.
While Chapter 41A has rarely been enforced, the City Attorney is moving forward with a couple of cases and Chapter 41B would make it easier for scofflaws to be identified, reported and prosecuted. At the same time, if Supervisor David Chiu’s proposed legislation is passed, some short-term rentals in San Francisco could become exempt from the existing law.
It will take 9,702 signatures to place the measure on the November ballot. Expect to see petitioners for the measure to start circulating within the next couple of weeks.