Efforts by Campos mean city will now collect tens of millions of dollars for the General Fund
By Tim Redmond
FEBRUARY 18, 2015 – Airbnb has agreed to pay the city tens of millions of dollars in back taxes, Sup. David Campos told me today.
The decision by the multibillion-dollar company is a huge victory for the district 9 supervisor, who refused to give up on the issue even after losing 6-5 the first time he introduced a measure mandating the payment.
With a new supervisor on the board, who is facing the voters this fall, and growing grassroots pressure on the company, Airbnb apparently decided it could no longer duck the bill.
The issue would have been part of the campaign to pass a ballot measure better regulating short-term rentals this fall, although that measure is going to deal with land use, not taxes.
“A lot of people said we should let go of this,” Campos told me. “But it’s going to mean millions of dollars for the General Fund.”
Campos had introduced legislation that would suspend the legalization of short-term rentals until the city treasurer certified that all back taxes were paid.
The company, and other short-term rental platforms, still have a serious problem in San Francisco: Only a tiny number of hosts have signed up for legal registration. The vast majority of the current listings are now illegal.
Gina Simi at the City Planning Department confirmed this to me today:
Residents cannot engage in short-term renting without obtaining a Short-Term Residential Rental Registration Number, regardless of whether they have an appointment scheduled or an application under review. It’s also important to note this ordinance does not override any lease agreements or any other agreement, law, or regulations that prohibit subletting or use of a unit as a short-term residential rental.
So there are thousands of illegal rentals going on today.