Petition handed in to put 'Airbnb law' before San Francisco voters

Carolyn Tyler Image
ByCarolyn Tyler KGO logo
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Petition handed in to put Airbnb law before San Francisco voters
Voters in San Francisco may have a say this coming November on the future of short-term housing rentals within the city.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The controversy over short-term rentals, like those listed on Airbnb, is heating up at the ballot box. There are already two proposed ordinances that are tweaks to a city law that just went into effect in February, and now this measure could go to voters this November.

Two boxes were carried into City Hall that hold thousands of signatures and if at least 9,700 are verified, San Francisco voters will have a say about the future of short-term rentals. Critics say companies like Airbnb are contributing to the city's housing crisis.

"Residential units that have been taken out of the housing market and turned into full time tourist accommodations, that's a problem when we're facing our worst housing crunch in a century," Dale Carlson

from ShareBetter SF said.

His initiative would limit rentals to 75 nights a year, require quarterly reports and allow Airbnb to list or advertise only registered listings.

Neighbors would be able to take legal action against violators and that has some worried.

Airbnb supporters are mounting their own campaign with their own rally at City Hall and with ads. The company says Airbnb hosts Rodolfo Cancino and his wife are the typical hosts who rent a room to a tourist to pay for extras.

"People like us who aren't hurting the city in my opinion, can contribute, not only to the international flavor of this city, but in taxes," Rodolfo said.

The company says $1 million a month is given to the city in taxes, but critics say the city is paying a higher price.

Calvin Welch from Sharebettrer SF said short-term rentals have "actually taken homes from people and turned them into homes for tourists."

Voters may decide.