San Francisco report shows impact of Airbnb on rental market

Friday, May 15, 2015
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A new report released by San Francisco's budget analyst is the first glimpse of the impact Airbnb is having on the rental market.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A new report released by San Francisco's budget analyst is the first glimpse of the impact short term rental company Airbnb is having on the rental market.

A so-called Airbnb law just went into effect in February and already some supervisors want some tweaks. This report may provide some ammunition.

"I lived there for a long time, I treated it very well, I loved it," San Francisco resident Susan Whetzel said.

Whetzel says she was illegally evicted from her Dolores Park home and then found it advertised on Airbnb; she is suing.

Her former landlord's attorney, David Semel, says, "If we end up in trial, we have confidence the jury will do its job."

Semel is representing landlord Peter Louie.

Whetzel's flat was the setting for a news conference about a report released Thursday by the city's budget and legislative analyst, commissioned by Supervisor David Campos who says it confirms what he expected.

"Based on very conservative estimates, you're talking about 25 percent, 23 percent, up to perhaps 40 percent of units that could be rented to residents of San Francisco, that are being Airbnbd," Campos said.

The report makes a distinction between casual hosts -- those who occasionally rent out a room to supplement their income -- and commercial hosts who are in it as a money-making venture.

In the popular Haight-Ashbury neighborhood nearly 32 percent of the vacant rentals were listed on Airbnb, 122 units in total. In the Mission there were 29 percent of potential rentals, or 199 units listed on Airbnb.

Evictions in those neighborhoods were also high, but the company says it is also contributing to the city's economy to the tune of $469 million annually and $1 million a month in taxes.

Airbnb Host Kepa Askenasy says people should stop blaming Airbnb for the housing shortage. She said, "We've had years and years of policies where affordable housing hasn't been piggybacked on some market rate housing, as it should have been, and this is where we're playing catch-up right now."

Click here to take a look at the full 54 page report