Sponsored link
Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Sponsored link

UncategorizedThe missing story -- and the missing people --...

The missing story — and the missing people — at the Airbnb hearing

 

Sup. David Chiu was on hand to present his Airbnb legislation
Sup. David Chiu was on hand to present his Airbnb legislation

By Tim Redmond

So much happened at the Planning Commission hearing on Airbnb that I hardly know where to start, except:

The testimony that the commissioners heard is vastly different from what’s really happening in the city.

Speaker after speaker came to praise “home-sharing” – and virtually every one of them told the same basic story. They own homes and rent out spare rooms to help make ends meet. Some are single parents; some are retired and have empty-nest space. Some just love the idea of having visitors from other lands coming to stay with them.

All of them are renting rooms that, they say, would never otherwise be on the housing market.

And if that’s all that was going on, there really wouldn’t be much of an issue here.

There also wouldn’t be a $10 billion valuation for Airbnb.

None of the speakers who favor Sup. David Chiu’s legislation copped to owning multiple units that are rented out entirely as hotel rooms, depleting the city’s affordable housing stock.

I don’t know how much of this was orchestrated by Airbnb, but I know that none of the speakers talked of using VRBO or any other system. They were all Airbnb folks. And they all presented exactly the picture that the big company is looking to put forward.

In fact, one speaker noted that “home-sharing has been happening for a long time.” Which is absolutely true.

The difference is that, at least according to a Chronicle study (that Airbnb has never challenged) a full two-thirds of all units rented through the service are entire houses or apartments – “contradicting [Airbnb’s] portrayal as a service for people who rent out a spare room and interact with guests.”

That’s something that is new, driven by the crazy real-estate market and the desire of Airbnb to encourage as much use as possible. “It’s all about the pre-IPO valuation,” one local business leader told me outside the hearing.

The hearing was almost a farce on one level – the term “sharing” was bandied around so much that you could almost believe, if this wasn’t a huge, lucrative, real-estate operation, that you were at a latter-day hippie convention where the talk was all about peace, love, and international harmony.

So let’s get it straight right now: Airbnb hosts are not “sharing” their homes. They are renting them for money. That may be a good thing or a bad thing, but if we want to be honest, we should tell the truth.

I remember when I was first starting in the newspaper world, at the Hartford Courant, and the state was debating allowing limited gambling at a few places. The proponents insisted that the plans be described as “gaming,” which sounds a lot more fun and harmless than “gambling.” My editor told us never to let them get away with using a carefully crafted public-relations term: Gambling is gambling.

I got nothing against it. But when you win and lose money, maybe a whole lot of money, it’s more than a “game.”

And, as longtime housing advocate Brad Paul noted in testimony, “if this was just people renting out their rooms, it’s not a big deal. But if it’s thousands of units being turned into hotels, we are losing those thousands of units and we can’t afford that.”

Former Planning Commission member Doug Engmann pointed out some of the problems with Airbnb
Former Planning Commission member Doug Engmann pointed out some of the problems with Airbnb

As I’ve said before: If this was just people who wanted to rent out extra rooms, it would never have reached this point. But Airbnb and VRBO are trying to turn this into very, very big money, which means big growth – and much of that money and growth comes from people buying buildings and renting them out entirely to tourists.

Doug Engmann, who was one of the sponsors of a ballot measure that would strictly limit short-term rentals, told the commission that the Chiu legislation would “rezone the entire city so that every permanent resident can rent out space as a hotel room.” The law would redefine residential use to include commercial use – a huge deal for San Francisco.

Calvin Welch, who is working with Engmann, noted that the Chiu bill has no restriction on the use of SRO hotel rooms as tourist hotel rooms through Airbnb, and no limits on below-market-rate housing being converted.

And he noted that there’s a real concern around the hotel industry: “Every unit [converted to a hotel room] costs a hotel worker a job.”

Ian Lewis, research director for HERE Local 2, the hotel workers union, noted that if 5,000 housing units are being rented every day through Airbnb, “400 housekeepers will not be working.”

Combine the loss of union hotel jobs with the increase in housing prices and “you have the best recipe for driving working people out of San Francisco short of bringing in the bulldozers,” Lewis said.

There are, as we’ve noted, potential issues with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Bob Planthold made a passionate case that none of the discussion has considered the issues facing disabled people.

Former Planning Commissioner Dennis Antenore put the whole issue in context. For Airbnb to “hide behind people who rent rooms is a cynical business,” he said. Airbnb rentals operate without “labor, safety, or neighborhood concerns.”

The new taxi companies that call themselves “sharing” – but, of course, have a business model based on monetizing every ride – have run into insurance issues, and that could be a huge deal for Airbnb and its hosts. Richard Juster, who told me he’d done a lot of research into insurance issues, testified that most homeowners’ insurance politics don’t cover commercial operations.

Planning Commissioners weren't ready to make a final decision tonight
Planning Commissioners weren’t ready to make a final decision tonight

In fact, Brook Turner, who works for the Coalition for Better Housing, a landlord group, told me that one of his members got caught when an insurance adjuster discovered that one of his rental units was being sublet through Airbnb. “The guy lost his insurance,” Turner said.

Which puts Airbnb in kind of a bad light. The company offers a lucrative chance for owners and renters to make spare cash off their rooms and apartments – but the platform doesn’t take any responsibility for the insurance problems that might arise.

Many homeowners who use Airbnb may not have checked to see if their insurance covers the short-term rentals (and most insurance doesn’t). Many renters who use the service don’t know that they are violating their leases – and that they are jeopardizing their landlords’ insurance coverage.

As one longtime San Francisco political observer told me tonight, “If this was just people renting out spare rooms every now and then, Airbnb wouldn’t be valued at $10 billion.”

Supporters of Airbnb line up to testify in support of Chiu's bill
Supporters of Airbnb line up to testify in support of Chiu’s bill

I talked to Welch and he agreed that the personal tales presented today were not only atypical – but not the heart of the problem. If the only people doing this sort of short-term rentals were people who owned one home in San Francisco and occasionally rented out a room in that home, while they were living in the place, nobody would care that much.

“But Airbnb would care,” he said. Because that would eliminate a large part of the growth market. This isn’t sharing; it’s become a big business.

I spoke outside the hearing to Skate Stone, a Bernal Heights homeowner who testified today and who was sitting outside City Hall having a sandwich with some of the other Airbnb supporters. He told me that he has found commercial insurance that covers his short-term rentals; it’s expensive, but he pays it.

He also said that he doesn’t support landlords turning entire units into Airbnb rentals. He just wants to be able to rent out the spare rooms in his home.

And here’s the killer: He and Welch don’t really disagree. The problem facing the Planning Commission and the supervisors is that the entire discussion today ignored the heart of the problem.

Commissioner Hisashi Sugaya made the point very nicely at the end of the hearing. He looked around the room and asked:

“Is anyone from Airbnb or VRBO here?”

“I didn’t think so. Nobody from those companies came and testified. Instead they sent people and organized people to testify about their personal experiences. But it seems that that’s the kind of business model they want to use, remain in the background, push people to the front, and not take responsibility for their actions.

“That’s a very cynical business model,” he said.

“Short-term rentals have been around a long time. It hasn’t been a big todo. These companies have shoved it back in the city’s face by enhancing the ability of people to break the law.”

Eliminate the ability to take any unit that could be rented out as housing off the market as a tourist rental — that is, wipe out two-thirds of Airbnb’s business in San Francisco, leaving only hosted visits with the homeowner on the scene or on vacation for a very short period of time (say, a week or two a year, unless the owner gets a conditional use permit) — and put a strong enforcement program in place to monitor it, you’ll probably get unanimous support. But that’s not what’s on the table here.

I just go a phone call from someone who watched the hearing and came up with a great business model. “I’m going to call it “Meth-bnb,” he said

“I’m going to look for every Breaking Bad wannabe and offer to rent out apartments in San Francisco as meth labs, and I’ll get far more money than I can get for residential use. Hey – it’s a business model. That’s what this is all about.”

The measure will go to the Board of Supervisors this fall.

 

Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.
Sponsored link

182 COMMENTS

  1. The missing story – and the missing people – at the Airbnb hearing – 48 hills

    obat infeksi menular seksual- untuk konsultasi dan pemesanan hubungi: 087736766326 BBM: D39F5E23

  2. Pengobatan Kondiloma Dengan Albotyl

    denature Indonesia yaitu sebuah perusahaan yang fokus dalam bidang obat herbal aman dan ampuh tanpa efek samping. obat kami sangat mujarab.

  3. Obat Herbal Alami Sipilis

    Tanda-tanda paling utama penyakit scabies merupakan gatal pada kulit, lebih-lebih tambah buruk saat malam hari. Rasa gatal berlangsung dikarenakan reaksi alergi pada tungau. Berjalan dengan cara berkolompok seperti sudah dikatakan diatas. Tanda-tanda s…

  4. Cara Mengatasi Gatal di Selangkangan

    Tanda-tanda paling utama penyakit scabies merupakan gatal pada kulit, lebih-lebih tambah buruk saat malam hari. Rasa gatal berlangsung dikarenakan reaksi alergi pada tungau. Berjalan dengan cara berkolompok seperti sudah dikatakan diatas. Tanda-tanda s…

  5. Obat Herbal Untuk Wasir

    Wasir yaitu tonjolan di sekitar lobang dubur (anus) atau saluran dubur (rektum) akibat bendungan serta perluasan pembuluh balik (vena). Wasir yaitu kelianan yang umum berlangsung. Hubungi kami dinomer HP/WA/SMS : 087736573790 BB : D43D6B95

  6. Cara Mengatasi Gatal di Selangkangan

    Tanda-tanda paling utama penyakit scabies merupakan gatal pada kulit, lebih-lebih tambah buruk saat malam hari. Rasa gatal berlangsung dikarenakan reaksi alergi pada tungau. Berjalan dengan cara berkolompok seperti sudah dikatakan diatas. Tanda-tanda s…

  7. Cara Mengatasi Gatal di Selangkangan

    Obat Herbal Alami Denature Menyediakan berbagai macam produk sebagai alternatif kesehatan anda. untuk konsultasi dan pemesanan hubungi HP/WA: 087736766326 BBM: D39FE23

  8. The missing story – and the missing people – at the Airbnb hearing – 48 hills

    Tanda-tanda paling utama penyakit scabies merupakan gatal pada kulit, lebih-lebih tambah buruk saat malam hari. Rasa gatal berlangsung dikarenakan reaksi alergi pada tungau. Berjalan dengan cara berkolompok seperti sudah dikatakan diatas. Tanda-tanda s…

  9. Anus Berdarah Gejala Wasir

    Wasir yaitu tonjolan di sekitar lobang dubur (anus) atau saluran dubur (rektum) akibat bendungan serta perluasan pembuluh balik (vena). Wasir yaitu kelianan yang umum berlangsung. Hubungi kami dinomer HP/WA/SMS : 087736573790 BB : D43D6B95

  10. The missing story – and the missing people – at the Airbnb hearing – 48 hills

    Tanda-tanda paling utama penyakit scabies merupakan gatal pada kulit, lebih-lebih tambah buruk saat malam hari. Rasa gatal berlangsung dikarenakan reaksi alergi pada tungau. Berjalan dengan cara berkolompok seperti sudah dikatakan diatas. Tanda-tanda s…

  11. The missing story – and the missing people – at the Airbnb hearing – 48 hills

    Obat Herbal Alami Denature Menyediakan berbagai macam produk sebagai alternatif kesehatan anda. untuk konsultasi dan pemesanan hubungi HP/WA: 087736766326 BBM: D39FE23

  12. Mengatasi wasir yang kambuh

    Wasir yaitu tonjolan di sekitar lobang dubur (anus) atau saluran dubur (rektum) akibat bendungan serta perluasan pembuluh balik (vena). Wasir yaitu kelianan yang umum berlangsung. Hubungi kami dinomer HP/WA/SMS : 087736573790 BB : D43D6B95

  13. Cara Mengatasi Gatal di Selangkangan

    Tanda-tanda paling utama penyakit scabies merupakan gatal pada kulit, lebih-lebih tambah buruk saat malam hari. Rasa gatal berlangsung dikarenakan reaksi alergi pada tungau. Berjalan dengan cara berkolompok seperti sudah dikatakan diatas. Tanda-tanda s…

  14. Cara Mengatasi Gatal di Selangkangan

    Tanda-tanda paling utama penyakit scabies merupakan gatal pada kulit, lebih-lebih tambah buruk saat malam hari. Rasa gatal berlangsung dikarenakan reaksi alergi pada tungau. Berjalan dengan cara berkolompok seperti sudah dikatakan diatas. Tanda-tanda s…

  15. Cara Mengatasi Gatal di Selangkangan

    Tanda-tanda paling utama penyakit scabies merupakan gatal pada kulit, lebih-lebih tambah buruk saat malam hari. Rasa gatal berlangsung dikarenakan reaksi alergi pada tungau. Berjalan dengan cara berkolompok seperti sudah dikatakan diatas. Tanda-tanda s…

  16. Gonore Pada Pria

    Gonore adalah infeksi yang disebabkan oleh infeksi bakteri Nesseria gonorrhea yang biasanya ditularkan melalui hubungan seksual tanpa pengaman. Sebaiknya Anda mengunjungi dokter untuk berkonsultasi mengenai masalah ini dan mendapatkan pengobatan yang t…

  17. Gonore Pada Pria

    Gonore adalah infeksi yang disebabkan oleh infeksi bakteri Nesseria gonorrhea yang biasanya ditularkan melalui hubungan seksual tanpa pengaman. Sebaiknya Anda mengunjungi dokter untuk berkonsultasi mengenai masalah ini dan mendapatkan pengobatan yang t…

  18. Gonore Pada Pria

    Gonore adalah infeksi yang disebabkan oleh infeksi bakteri Nesseria gonorrhea yang biasanya ditularkan melalui hubungan seksual tanpa pengaman. Sebaiknya Anda mengunjungi dokter untuk berkonsultasi mengenai masalah ini dan mendapatkan pengobatan yang t…

  19. Gonore Pada Pria

    Gonore adalah infeksi yang disebabkan oleh infeksi bakteri Nesseria gonorrhea yang biasanya ditularkan melalui hubungan seksual tanpa pengaman. Sebaiknya Anda mengunjungi dokter untuk berkonsultasi mengenai masalah ini dan mendapatkan pengobatan yang t…

  20. Gonore Pada Pria

    Gonore adalah infeksi yang disebabkan oleh infeksi bakteri Nesseria gonorrhea yang biasanya ditularkan melalui hubungan seksual tanpa pengaman. Sebaiknya Anda mengunjungi dokter untuk berkonsultasi mengenai masalah ini dan mendapatkan pengobatan yang t…

  21. Tips Cara Mengobati Kencing Nanah

    Gonore adalah infeksi yang disebabkan oleh infeksi bakteri Nesseria gonorrhea yang biasanya ditularkan melalui hubungan seksual tanpa pengaman. Sebaiknya Anda mengunjungi dokter untuk berkonsultasi mengenai masalah ini dan mendapatkan pengobatan yang t…

  22. Tips Cara Mengobati Kencing Nanah

    Gonore adalah infeksi yang disebabkan oleh infeksi bakteri Nesseria gonorrhea yang biasanya ditularkan melalui hubungan seksual tanpa pengaman. Sebaiknya Anda mengunjungi dokter untuk berkonsultasi mengenai masalah ini dan mendapatkan pengobatan yang t…

  23. Tips Cara Mengobati Kencing Nanah

    Gonore adalah infeksi yang disebabkan oleh infeksi bakteri Nesseria gonorrhea yang biasanya ditularkan melalui hubungan seksual tanpa pengaman. Sebaiknya Anda mengunjungi dokter untuk berkonsultasi mengenai masalah ini dan mendapatkan pengobatan yang t…

  24. Tips Cara Mengobati Kencing Nanah

    Gonore adalah infeksi yang disebabkan oleh infeksi bakteri Nesseria gonorrhea yang biasanya ditularkan melalui hubungan seksual tanpa pengaman. Sebaiknya Anda mengunjungi dokter untuk berkonsultasi mengenai masalah ini dan mendapatkan pengobatan yang t…

  25. Cara Mengobati Selangkangan yang Gatal

    Berdasarkan penyebabnya, eksim atau dermatitis atopik terdiri dari berbagai macam, ada eksim alergi, eksim bawaan, eksim akibat stres, atau eksim karena kontak dengan bahan iritan seperti zat kimia, zat pelarut, sabun, deterjen, parfum, produk perawata…

  26. Cara Mengobati Selangkangan yang Gatal

    Berdasarkan penyebabnya, eksim atau dermatitis atopik terdiri dari berbagai macam, ada eksim alergi, eksim bawaan, eksim akibat stres, atau eksim karena kontak dengan bahan iritan seperti zat kimia, zat pelarut, sabun, deterjen, parfum, produk perawata…

  27. Obat Gatal Di Selangkangan Herbal

    Berdasarkan penyebabnya, eksim atau dermatitis atopik terdiri dari berbagai macam, ada eksim alergi, eksim bawaan, eksim akibat stres, atau eksim karena kontak dengan bahan iritan seperti zat kimia, zat pelarut, sabun, deterjen, parfum, produk perawata…

  28. obat gatal selangkangan di apotik

    Eksim atau dermatitis merupakan kondisi kulit yang menimbulkan rasa sakit, ruam, lepuhan, nanah dan perdarahan jika kondisi serius. Secara normal, eksim dapat diobati dengan pelembab atau krim steroid, tetapi jika keduanya tidak bekerja dengan baik And…

  29. Cara Mengatasi Gatal di Bagian Selangkangan

    Eksim yang juga disebut sebagai eksema maupun dermatitis merupakan peradangan hebat yang kemudian menyebabkan terjadinya oembentukan gelembung kecil atau lepuh pada permukaan kulit sehingga pada akhirnya pecah lalu mengeluarkan cairan. Eksim sendiri di…

  30. Cara Mengatasi Gatal di Bagian Selangkangan

    Eksim yang juga disebut sebagai eksema maupun dermatitis merupakan peradangan hebat yang kemudian menyebabkan terjadinya oembentukan gelembung kecil atau lepuh pada permukaan kulit sehingga pada akhirnya pecah lalu mengeluarkan cairan. Eksim sendiri di…

  31. all Drone reView

    The main feature of the Phantom 4 is the added 3D cameras and new computer hardware for mapping out environments in three dimensional space. This is what allows it to avoid obstacles and maneuver around them. However, features like obstacle avoidance a…

  32. obat kelamin keluar nanah

    Wanita serta pria homoseksual yang lakukan jalinan sex lewat anus (anal seks) bisa menanggung derita gonore pada rektumnya. Pasien bakal rasakan tak nyaman di sekitaran anusnya serta dari rektumnya keluar cairan. Daerah di sekitaran anus terlihat merah…

  33. Penyakit Kulit Eksim

    Eksim atau Dermatitis adalah arti kedokteran untuk kelainan kulit, yang mana kulit terlihat meradang serta iritasi. Peradangan ini dapat berlangsung dimanapun tetapi yang seringkali terserang yakni tangan serta kaki. Type eksim yang seringkali didapati…

  34. Sam – that is not what happens. The landlord doesn’t “close down the business.” He sells it to investors, who then evict all the tenants via the Ellis Act, hold the building empty for the required time, and then rake in the bucks by re-renting at insane rates or turning into short term rentals. There are whole investment companies who do nothing but buy up rent control buildings to “flip” them using the Ellis Act, which is hardly the scenario you describe.

  35. of course not – the opposition is nothing but fear tactics (similar to legalizing gay marriage). Say anything to make it look bad, when SHOCKER – some low income people can now afford to travel to the city because rates like homesharing make it competitive.

  36. As a SF Citizen, I have the right to use my household how I want. Similar to a home caterer, a home babysitter, a HOME psychologist. If everyone is so up in arms about this – GO AFTER THE OTHER HOME BUSINESSES because those could be housing too. IMHO.

  37. If I wanted to list my home for sale, would I have to disclose to a potential buyer that the house next door to me is a full time Airb&b rental…the owner lives in New York and has for about 2 years? This is/was a very quiet Glen Park neighborhood and I feel this short term, continuous rental is affecting the property values and certainly has changed the neighborhood community feeling which is one of things that attracted me to this area 10 years ago.

  38. One of the reasons our residential property values are so high in San Francisco is that our zoning laws are among the most restrictive in the Country.. San Francisco residential zoning, with the exception of mixed use districts, restricts commercial activities. Residential owners have paid a premium price for this right. Short term rentals create hotels and erode the quiet enjoyment of our residential communities.

    Who should be entitled to change this law: should supervisors who have received campaign contributions from Airb&b or should this be submitted to the voters to be voted on district by district?

    Thanks Tim for bringing this issue to the forefront If Airb&b prevail, our neighborhood character and livability will be drastically altered, and families, especially those with children, will continue to exit the City. .

  39. Hi Tim, thanks for the interesting perspective. However, if you are truly being honest with your language you would better describe these units not as “affordable housing” but as perhaps “market rate, rent controlled housing”. I hate to break it to you, but any of the full apartments that are being rented out on Airbnb that you claim are “depleting the city’s affordable housing stock” are most definitely not affordable. Calling these units “affordable” using your logic is a “carefully crafted public-relations term” that only conveniently fits your cause.

  40. Hi Eleen, I’ve seen a number of sinkholes in S.F. One a few blocks from where I’m living. — I’m truly not aware of serious work being done to replace the 100 year old infrastructure wrt water pipes & sewage pipes in S.F. — I can make some inquiries though. — If you already know & can save me some time here, & are inclined to share. Well, I wouldn’t turn good 411 down.
    Researching the current status of the hotel industry & the tax revenue it brings in versus the tax revenue that Airbnb won’t bring in. — My plate is a bit full. –However, I suppose I could make some calls & see what I can dig up. — Any suggestions as to how one would efficiently go about gathering this sort of data or should I simply take the ball & run with it? — Thanks in advance.
    B. Brown

  41. >QUESTIONS: How does Airbnb impact tax revenue for the City & County of S.F.? Is tourism still S.F.’s largest export?

    How about doing some research and telling us all?

    >In the meantime our infrastructure such as water & sewer are in dire need of attention.

    Are you a shut-in? Have you seen how much work is in progress? Sheessh

  42. If that’s what your simplistic economic analysis limits you to “Sam” then sure, why not.

    I’m sure many failed states have economic advisor posts just for the likes of you.

  43. At one point in time “tourism” was S.F.’s largest “export” and the tax revenue from S.F.’s hotels contributed significantly to tax revenue collected by/for the City & County of S.F.

    QUESTIONS: How does Airbnb impact tax revenue for the City & County of S.F.? Is tourism still S.F.’s largest export?

    CONCERNS: Rezoning residential areas to facilitate commercial use for Airbnb et al impacts both the housing supply and S.F.’s revenue base.

    INSTANT REPLAY: Ed Lee created a housing shortage when he gave tax breaks to tech companies.

    I believe that rezoning residential areas to accommodate Airbnb usage as well as like companies puts a further squeeze on the supply of housing. While simultaneously depleting the city of much needed tax revenue from hotels.

    Talk about artificially manipulating the markets. This rezoning proposal will further decrease the housing supply while simultaneously decreasing tax revenue for the City & County of S.F.

    In the meantime our infrastructure such as water & sewer are in dire need of attention.

    The proposed policy for rezoning to accommodate Airbnb et al will most likely result in one giant sinkhole for S.F. in the not too distant future.

  44. The 10B market cap comes from its global franchise. SF is a tiny part of their business and 99% of cities around the planet do not deem it appropriate to try and micromanage what people do inside their own homes.

    And it is “sharing” because this is private individuals sharing a resource or asset they have, like a home or car. It’s also an “economy” because money changes hands. IOW, i am sharing my home with you and you are sharing your money with me. But you are confusing this with charity, where I give you something for free. Nobody ever said that the sharing economy is a charity – that’s plain weird.

    Again, I ask you to defend trying to tell me what to can and cannot do in my own home, when I do not try and control what you do in your home? I’m sorry, but you just come across as an intolerant control freak.

  45. The exchange of goods or services for money is not sharing. It is selling, renting, leasing–take your pick.

    These companies and their apologists can misuse words however they want. The vast majority of people see through their lies.

    There are long standing laws against short-term rentals in this town for good reasons supported by most people. Empower the appropriate agencies, governmental and private, to enforce them. That is all the city needs to do here.

    An online hotel (excuse me, room “sharing”) booking agent that owns no real property has a $10B valuation? Something doesn’t compute because it is essentially a speculative ponzi scheme whose initial investors are looking for their ill-gotten returns before the broader society can regulate them appropriately and their business model collapses.

    To hell with neighborhood stability or the rental housing stock, what do these greedy bastards care? They won’t even appear publicly to defend their own company, hiding behind manipulated users of their website whose demographic (old, small property owners) represent only a small percentage of their lessors.

  46. That’s odd because I had a dream last night that people could live together without trying to tell each other what they can and cannot do in their own home.

    If you wish to share your home, car or any other resource or asset with another person, I do not consider that any of my business. Tolerance is a key San Francisco value.

  47. Woke up this morning with the vestige of a dream in which the gripping newspaper headlines were: S.F. JUST SAYS “NO” TO SHARING ECONOMY!
    B. Brown

  48. Chiu’s legislation wouldn’t make it particularly profitable to take units off the market to Airbnb them – it only allows it for a small fraction of the calendar year, leaving the unit wasted most of the year. Full time Airbnb hosts won’t appreciate that regulation.

    And that’s why this attempt to “keep this issue front and center” is totally misleading. This legislative proposal will restrict usage to exactly the sort of people Tim is deeming the “good” hosts, who are just doing it occasionally for a little supplemental income and not running a de facto unregulated hotel.

    So what’s the problem, then?

  49. Kabb, law school teaches that property is just a bundle of rights and so, yes, buying a property is really buying a bunch of rights of access, usage and exclusivity. so on a trivial level, you are correct.

    However, scratch the surface deeper and you see the limits to that. The Ellis Act does not exist in a vacuum but rather reflects the sanctity of property rights under the constitution, specifically that a property owner cannot be compelled to use his property for any specific purpose (e.g. renting) if he chooses not to do so.

    So yes, a municipality can restrict the rents you can charge. But also, the owner is free to exit that arrangement without giving any reason at all.

    A better question is this. Why would you want to force your landlord to subsidize your housing costs over being self-supporting and independant? And where is the dignity in desperately clinging to a home you hate just because it is artificially cheap?

  50. Kabb, no, in many cases it is not about greed at all. In fact the main complaint i hear from fellow landlords is not that the rents do not cover the costs, but rather that they have totally lost control over who can live in their buildings. And that many tenants can be very aggressive and unpleasant.

    Another problems is that when a new owner buys a building, his costs may be considerably higher, but the rents do not rise to reflect that. So, over time, a building that was once viable becomes unviable.

    The law understands how that situation can arise and allows a balancing tactic – the Ellis Act. In other words, yes, a tenant can enjoy a massively discounted rent for a long time. But if that goes on for too long, and the landlord feels hardship and distress, then he may close down the business, evict all the tenants and get his building back.

    Do you have a problem with balance?

  51. Sam, you’re just making my point for me.

    There are RULES about rentals for a reason, which both property owners and renters abide by.

    Yes, there are 14 “just cause” evictions. Note the language – JUST CAUSE does not mean “Just ’cause I want to increase the rent.” Or “just ’cause I don’t like the tenant anymore.”

    Tenants have rights too.

    You do NOT have the right to do whatever you want with your property anywhere in the United States. This is a nation of laws, many many laws…. I’d like you to find me one piece of property in the United States that a private citizen can purchase and have absolutely no restrictions on use. You can’t buy a piece of land and then engage in illegal activities there. Buying a home in San Francisco and then flouting the local zoning laws, is illegal. As in, agains the law. As in, your property “rights” do not trump existing laws governing use of said property. You signed on the dotted line, didn’t you read the disclosures?

  52. Now Sam, let’s be real here. What you are actually saying is that it is greed that is motivating short term rentals.

    “….many property owners have been scared… because they can get stuck for decades with a bad tenant paying low rents…”

    Really. So, that’s the real crux of it. If you rent out your 1 BD unit to someone today for $3,500/mo, around average, and he doesn’t move out for 8 years… when does $3,500/mo become “low rent”? If you are imposing the annual rent increases allowed, which are based on Consumer Price Index for all consumers in the Bay Area… then you are making a reasonable increase. And what threats can tenants issue other than that they want the plumbing or heat fixed?

    What you’re really saying is that you want the right to maximize your investment to rates without any risk that someone might want to live in the unit for more than a couple of years, and that you won’t be able to jack up the rent several hundred dollars per month each year. That you feel that it is your right to buy into the business of renting housing to people but not to follow the rules that govern that business, and not to have any concern for the customers whom you serve. You want other, better, richer customers, who will pay and move on in a few days.

    Really, if you don’t want to be in the rental business, don’t buy a rental property. But don’t pretend that rent control is the reason for high rents. Greed is the reason for high rents.

  53. Kabb, by the same argument, any tenants who rent a place understand that this is only a temporary arrangement. And that that very same community that you claim to cherish allows the owner of your home to reclaim that home from you via any one of fifteen just causes including OMI, Ellis and others.

    It’s true that property owners have more rights in most other parts of the US. But basic property rights are enshrined in the US constitution, and if you do not like that, then I believe that there are various nations in Europe, Latin America and elsewhere that adopt your mantra that property is theft.

    Bon voyage.

  54. Does your “personal property” have its own water source? Do people travel on city streets to get to it? Is it serviced by outside utilities? Does it process its own waste water?

    In other words, if “YOUR PERSONAL PROPERTY” is in any way dependent upon the community in which it exists, then YOU have to abide by the rules which are there to allow people to live together in relative harmony. Among which are restrictions on the use of particular properties in particular areas.

    If you do NOT want any restrictions, do not buy property in an area that has any kind of zoning laws. These are all disclosed to you prior to your purchasing of a property, and you SIGNED OFF on those zoning disclosures.

    Don’t give this bogus argument that “property rights” give you some kind of carte blanche to do whatever the hell you want. That does not exist and never has.

  55. It is about time that Property Owners have some rights to do what they want with “their” personal property.
    Damn these 30 day renters who think they own the real estate they occupy on a month to month lease.

  56. Sam I’m with you one hundred percent. 400 maids out of work? with the hotels working at full capacity? 10 billion value is not just for San Francisco, but for the entire company. This is a typical article written by someone that likes to hear himself talk. Stating false information presents the problem that a lot of people assume it’s true, just because it’s printed. Whoever this writer is I have very little respect for, nothing but a trained parrot

  57. The Anti-eviction Mapping, in its Airbnb pdf of last month states that 30% of the listings on Airbnb’s website provide 46% of the income for Airbnb in San Francisco.

    If this is true, then it’s obvious that the big money for Airbnb is from the unscrupulous realtors, property managers, landlords and yes, individuals who are doing mass rentals and taking units off the market. I believe that David Chiu alluded to these people yesterday when he said that some
    rentals were unacceptable. These are the listings that should be shut down.

    I agree that individuals who rent within their living space should be allowed to do so. Of course, if there was more economic justice in this city–real jobs and real affordable housing–it would be less attractive to rent to visitors.

  58. David, your anecdote may be true, but it misses the bigger picture.

    I’ve done both long-term and short-term lets, and short-term lets are a lot more work. You are constantly looking for new tenants, you bear a much higher risk of getting a bad one, the turnover itself requires management, regular cleaning and laundry, and of course you have to furnish and equip the place to a reasonable standard, and accept the wear-and-tear on that. And you pay all the bills.

    And while the daily rate on short lets might be good, you never have 100% occupancy, so it doesn’t make much difference in the end to the bottom line.

    The point is more that many property owners have been scared and driven off doing long-term lets because they can get stuck for decades with a bad tenant paying low rents making endless demands and threats.

    The appetite for short-term lets is not because it is more money or easy money. It’s because the city’s own policies push people into it.

  59. Folks lets be real, renting out to AirBnB customers is a profitable business. A person that I know who is living in the Sunset use to rent out a room in his house to help pay the rent. After being introduced to AirBnB he stopped the monthly rental, now its AirBnB clients only, more $s.
    How many other people are doing this in SF?
    Yes AirBnB CONTRIBUTES to high rents and a shortage of rentals.

  60. Daniel-
    Re: “a HUGE number of AirBnB rentals are property owners who have many units and are TAKING THEM OFF THE MARKET ”

    Any chance that you can substantiate that? I mean, the capitalization is impressive and anything…but…

    And thanks for claiming that what we said is ‘hogwash’. I personally quoted the same study that Tim uses. FWIW, if you look up ‘hogwash’ in the dictionary it doesn’t mean “something that you disagree with”.

  61. No, Daniel, I know a number of people who offer short-term lets, and I do so myself and have done for 15 years. None of us have ever taken a unit off the market specifically to do short-term lets. And certainly have never evicted tenants to do so.

    What happens is more subtle and significant than that. When we get voluntary turnover, we make a decision whether to re-rent that unit in the long-term market or whether to not. And if we decide NOT to do that, then the question arises what to do with the unit.

    There are a few choices. You can rehab it and sell as a TIC. You can occupy it and, in some circumstances, condo the building. You can have friends or family stay there. You can just leave it empty (and many do just that). Or you can let it out temporarily.

    Your theory here appears to rest on the idea that if only short-term lets could be stopped, then thousands of units would be re-offered on the market. as noted, that’s a myth. Almost none of them would be.

    The problem, you see, is that rent control has made long-term lets unattractive. So owners make rational choices to put their units to other uses. And bear in mind that short-term lets are a lot more risk, work and hassle. nobody would do them over a long-term let except that of course that the regulations are onerous.

    You want to see more long-term rentals. Try an incentive. As things are, thousands of RC units permanently vanish every year, and airbnb is a footnote to that. The real elephant in the room is that the rent laws drive people to close down their units.

  62. How much did AirBnB pay you guys to cough up all this nonsense? Huh? Sam and Dave? Huh? Because if anyone is out of touch and has no clue what’s happening in this city, it’s you two. I totally support Tim reporting on yet another issue that San Francisco renters have to deal with in the ever diminishing housing stock. And funny but you and the other AirBnB cheerleaders here on this page refuse to discuss the fact that a HUGE number of AirBnB rentals are property owners who have many units and are TAKING THEM OFF THE MARKET in order to rent them out to the highest bidder. Give me a break. You’re sob story is pathetic. “Oh boo hoo, the poor elderly home owner who can’t make ends meet and is only doing this so they can put food on their table.” What a bunch of hogwash. AirBnB is encouraging not just a FEW homeowners but property owners and management companies to take or keep units off the market and rent them out to travelers… reducing our housing stock even more and acting as private hotels that, yet again, along with Lyft and Uber, are adhering to NO local or state laws. I FULLY support Tim continuing to keep this issue front and center.

  63. Josh, you would need to define what you mean by a “rent-controlled” unit. For instance, a unit that would be rent-controlled IF it were rented out doesn’t really count as a rent-controlled unit if the owner has decided that he will never again rent the unit out long-term.

    For instance, almost every TIC unit in Sf is theoretically rent-controlled in that it would be covered by the ordinance if it was rented out. But that is moot because no tIC owner in his or her right mind would ever do that.

    Tim skirts the issue of how many really egregious cases there are of a LL renting out multiple units via AirBnb. I suspect it is a very small percentage of the 5,000 or so SF hosts on file. So why enact a policy that hurts most of them just to catch a few errant owners? The material difference to the city’s housing stock is trivial, and I can think of a dozen factors that drive out more tenants than that.

    And I’d be happy to list them on request.

    Finally Tim claims that he feels sure his idea would be popular. But based on what? By his own admission, most of the people at the meeting disagreed with Tim, leaving him to drum up predictable conspiracy theories to try and explain that away.

  64. I’m curious – you suggest in the conclusion that:

    “Eliminate the ability to take any unit that could be rented out as housing off the market as a tourist rental — that is, wipe out two-thirds of Airbnb’s business in San Francisco, leaving only hosted visits with the homeowner on the scene or on vacation for a very short period of time…”

    Are you proposing that solution only for rent-controlled units ? Or do you propose that for “free market” units as well ?

    I feel like I could support a regulation like you propose for the units that are rent-controlled, but is it not reasonable for free market units to be short-term rented, in whole or part ? Presumably they are not part of the affordable housing stock since they are not rent controlled ?

  65. Kudos to Tim for highlighting the key issues. Language is important and many of the rentals are not shared housing.

  66. So your carefully-honed narrative is that we have homeless people on the streets because some people rent out their spare room through Airbnb? Fascinating.

    It really is a stretch to believe that if you outlaw home-sharing that somehow miraculously, thousands of permanently-affordable rental homes will magically manifest themselves and we can all sing kumbayah.

    The reality is that there is no way I would offer up my units long-term again. Even if this so-called law (assuming you agree it’s a law – I do not) could be enforced (and it cannot) then I would just sell as TICs.

    I’m afraid you have lost all those long-term rental units because of rent control. Trying to find a scapegoat like Airbnb to blame for the failure of rent control is transparent and futile.

    Luckily, the people at this meeting get it, and so do our elected officials.

  67. Keep going, Tim. Write it a million times if you must. Renting out a room is not “sharing.”

    Enforce existing laws. End of story. End to this exploitative business model.

    What a bunch of patsies our elected officials, appointed commissioners and most city staffers are.

    Money talks, poor and working class people hit the road. Many right onto the street.

    Stroll through the Mission any evening. People are sleeping outside all over the place. The worst it’s ever been, except probably for the first few weeks after the 1906 earthquake.

    These “disruptors” are on the road to disrupting themselves right to the gallows or the tumbrils.

  68. Tim has now written four times about airbnb in the four days he has been back from vacation. He hasn’t written about Gaza, crime, budget deficits, homelessness, famine, disease or the environment – all classic and honorable left-wing causes.

    But no, instead, four repetitive articles on people who decide to sometimes share their home with others (or his other favorite – people taking the bus to work).

    So yes, Tim felt out of touch with the meeting because he is out of touch with the people, who have little time for the kind of invasive micro-management of peoples’ lives that Tim craves.

    Tim, here’s an idea. Stop talking only to people like Welch and actually get out there in the city and talk to ordinary people. You know, the kind of people who do not think it is a mortal sin to have a visitor in their home for a few days or take a bus to work.

  69. Oooohhhh….sounds like a really rough day for Tim Redmond at the hearing. I feel bad.

    I’m sure he was excited to go to the meeting and hear person after person talk about being evicted because of Airbnb but it just didn’t work out like that.

    But here’s a clue…the Chronicle study…the one that Tim quotes to say that 2/3 of AirBNB rentals are full units?

    Unfortunately, it also estimates that there are only 160 units in the city that seem to be functioning as full time or near full time Airbnb rentals. He has trouble with that part.

    But if I have to listen to Tim rant one more time about the $10B valuation I’m going to suggest an intervention. Can someone please explain to him that Airbnb is a GLOBAL company? In something like 34,000 cities worldwide. It is embarrassing to hear Tim continue to say that the valuation assumes that people will buy buildings in San Francisco because of Airbnb.

    And maybe explain that Ed Lee is NOT the mayor of the other 33,999 cities.

    Maybe someone can take Tim out and get some nice photos of white buses. He seems to like that.

  70. The desire to take a percentage of someone’s earned “labor” for doing nothing more than providing a canopy over them while they work is universal…

    To call it a business is hubris.

    Putting your snout in the same “money trough” doesn’t make you the biggest pig…

Comments are closed.

Sponsored link

Top reads

Occupy San Francisco was a game-changer

Ten years later, remembering the movement that gave us "We are the 99 percent" and put economic inequality on the national agenda.

Should SF ban the no-knock warrants that lead to Breonna Taylor’s death?

Plus: Juvenile justice, small-business rent relief, and a 'beach-to-the-Bay' bike path. That's The Agenda for Sept. 20-26.

Drenched to perfection: Where to score the best torta ahogada

A Mexican American local's quest for the elusive Jalisco-style, soaked-in-salsa sandwich

More by this author

Should SF ban the no-knock warrants that lead to Breonna Taylor’s death?

Plus: Juvenile justice, small-business rent relief, and a 'beach-to-the-Bay' bike path. That's The Agenda for Sept. 20-26.

Newsom beats back recall handily; now he has to decide who his friends are

Labor and grassroots Democrats kept him in office. Will he remember that when it comes to making policy?

New rules on search warrants moving forward with little public input

The public defender wasn't consulted. The DA hasn't been inolvolved. But the Police Commission wants a major policy change—now.
Sponsored link

You might also likeRELATED