How San Francisco’s Prop. F Would Change Airbnb Rentals

The only common ground between Proposition F supporters and opponents is their acknowledgment that short-term rentals like those found on Airbnb are here to stay.

But how to regulate them?

If passed this November, Prop. F would:

  • Cap private short-term rentals at 75 nights a year per unit.
  • Institute provisions to ensure that such rentals are complying with city code and that hotel taxes are being paid.
  • Require rental hosts to file quarterly guest and revenue reports with the city.
  • Prohibit the use of “in-laws” (accessory units that were added to a normally single-unit property) for short-term rentals.
  • Authorize both enforcement by the city and private action lawsuits by “interested parties” or anyone living within 100 feet of those suspected of violating the law.

Opponents of Prop. F, including Airbnb, have spent more than $8 million to fight the measure. Landlords, hotel unions and housing activists have raised more than $250,000 in support of it.

Prop. F spokesman and San Francisco Supervisor David Campos debated No on F Campaign Manager Patrick Hannan on KQED Forum on Monday morning.

Proponents of Prop. F believe that current short-term rental legislation doesn’t go far enough to regulate companies like Airbnb. The current housing crisis forces property owners to convert their units to short-term rentals, Campos argued. To convert their units, property owners evict long-term residents in places like the Mission, which Campos calls “ground zero for displacement.”

Campos also argued that many of the units that should be registered under an ordinance signed by Mayor Ed Lee last October are not. This, Campos argues, makes it harder for the city to enforce the laws on the books.

“They don’t have to follow any of the rules that the rest of the hotel industry has to follow, and they are making money on the backs of San Francisco residents that are being evicted,” Campos said.

Opponents: Prop. F Compromises Privacy and Encourages Lawsuits

Prop. F opponents say that rental sites like Airbnb actually provide opportunities for San Francisco residents.

“They’re giving middle-class San Franciscans the opportunity to make extra income,” Hannan said. “There’s a community of hosts that are being scapegoated for a housing crisis that has existed for generations.”

Hannan argued that existing laws are working and that the process set forth by the Office of Short Term Rental Registry simply needs time to work.

“[Prop. F creates] a private right of action with a profit motive,” he said on Forum. “And I believe this is one of the aspects that’s most troubling. Under Prop. F, San Francisco will be the only government in the world to require you to document where you sleep at night.”

Opponents of Prop. F say voters should oppose the measure because it incentivizes neighbors to spy on and sue each other and because it gives the government access to private information such as where you sleep at night.