SF's new Airbnb law slow to take off

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San Francisco's new Airbnb law is slow to take off among eligible renters.

Few people are utilizing the San Francisco Short-term Residential Rental Registry that went into effect in February. It allows houses or apartments to be leased for less than 30 days at a time, and no more than 90 days per year.

Of the thousands eligible to register, only about one percent have done so under the new Airbnb law.

Gregg De Meza says he's been trying to register with the city under the new Airbnb law so that he can legally rent out a room in his Bernal Heights home.

"The process is arduous. They are requiring information and ID. It's just difficult to comply," said De Meza.

Applications must be made in person at the planning department.

Owen Donnelly has just wrapped up and says it was straightforward.

"Not so much red tape, you just have to read the application and fill it out," said Donnelly.

But clearly he is the exception. Of the estimated 6,000 hosts in San Francisco, only 159 have applied since the law took effect in February and only 60 have been approved.

At a City Hall hearing on Wednesday, there were lots of complaints that the process is not user- friendly. For example, the utility bill can't be a copy. It has to be an original so you have to contact PG&E.

The bottom line is although hundreds of people showed up over the last few months to push for legalization, the vast majority have not registered. And it's not clear if they are ignoring the law.

City officials say one option would be to subpoena Airbnb and other hosting platforms to get data the city needs for enforcement.

The planning department expects to add additional staff, is considering online scheduling and other options to improve the registration process.
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