While the number of complaints related to illegal short-term rental activity in San Francisco hasn’t dropped to zero following the implementation of the City’s new short-term rental law (which restricts units that haven’t been registered with San Francisco’s Office of Short-Term Rentals from being listed on short-term rental platforms, such as Airbnb, and provides a mechanism for verifying said registrations), the number of formal complaints has totaled around 140 since the beginning of the year, which is roughly half the number filed with the City by the same time last year.

Complaint activity peaked in the second quarter of 2016, with over 200 complaints filed in that quarter alone, the same quarter in which the aforementioned law was originally approved by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors but subsequently challenged and effectively adopted around the beginning of this year.

At the same time, attempts to circumvent the short-term listing law, by spoofing valid registration numbers or playing cat and mouse games with listings, have started to tick up. We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Just My Opinion

    While I understand why people find AirBnB appealing, it completely circumvents zoning and should be outlawed. I know it won’t be and understand all the reasons it is popular and, to some, helpful. Nonetheless, if my neighbor were regularly AirBnBing, I would work hard to put an end to it.

    • Posted by Anon123

      The rental of homes to vacationers predates Airbnb – they have just been more successful in setting up a useful platform for homeowners and vacationers to use. Perhaps the founders were just watching “The Holiday”…

      • Posted by anon2

        The thing is that when people did illegal rentals on their own, they had a strong incentive to not cause problems or attract attention. “The nail that sticks up gets hammered down”

        Whereas under the umbrella of AirBnB and others sites, some hosts seem to feel that any problems are AirBnB’s problems not theirs. Especially prior to the city getting involved.

      • Posted by stevenj

        They have been successful at circumventing zoning for homeowners and visitors (in large numbers) all over the City. Why should a legal BnB or other short term rental hotel/motel/inn that has been operating for years, paying for a business license, etc operate next to another that is completely under the table and unaccountable?

        There were 3 down at the other end of the block from me. One closed because the neighbors were sick of the partying on the outdoor deck half the night and really put the pressure on the building owner. The others closed up when the city got it’s act together and laid out the rules for operating short term rentals in SF.

        At least the playing field is now more even for everyone.

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