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Housing into a hotel, in the heart of the Castro

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SF’s pro-Airbnb law and lax enforcement allows all sorts of operators to cannibalize the city’s housing stock for tourist hotels. Check this one out

This Google Images photo shows apparent construction work at the site of what was once housing and is now a hotel
This Google Images photo shows apparent construction work at the site of what was once housing and is now a hotel

By Tim Redmond

JUNE 11, 2015 — At a couple of points during the debate on tighter enforcement for short-term rentals, members of the Board of Supervisors argued that there’s been too much focus on Airbnb. There are, after all, other platforms that offer a similar product.

True: There are big outfits like Vacation Rentals by Owner, and smaller operations. Some of them use different models.

That, of course, doesn’t mean the city should ignore Airbnb (by far, the biggest game in town). And the regulations that Sup. David Campos is proposing would also apply to other short-term rentals

But it’s worth taking a look at some of the existing places that are operating commercial hotels in residential neighborhoods, openly offering vacation stays of less than 30 days, sometimes in direct violation of the existing laws, which require that the owner of a property actually live there, at least some of the time.

No, it’s not just Airbnb – it’s a bigger problem, and the Planning Department admits that it lacks the staff to even begin enforcing the law.

For example, it took me only a few minutes on Google (and the help of some of my 48hills commenters) to find Casa Luna SF. It’s a multi-unit property on 17th near Castro that used to be a three-family housing unit. Now it’s a full-time commercial hotel.

The building is at 4060 17th. It’s owned by Casa Luna SF LLC, a California corporation. Records on file with the Secretary of State show that Casa Luna LLC is associated with Srinivas Katragadda, who owns a house on Everett Avenue in Oakland.

Until Katragadda bought the place in 2012, according to SF property records, it was a two-family house. There’s also a carriage house in back, which records show was a one-family house. So there were at least three housing units on the site.

Now, according to the Casa Luna SF website, there are four hotel rooms. They rent for $225 to $419 a night. And they are available for as few as three days, according to this handy reservation link.

Gina Simi, the information person at the City Planning Department, told me that there is no Bed and Breakfast Inn or other commercial license at that address.

Since every available place on the property is listed as a vacation rental, it’s hard to see how the owner could be living there – particularly since Katragadda also owns a house in Oakland.

Taking a look at the reservation site, it appears the “vista apartment” has already been rented for 13 nights in June, bringing in $5,447. The garden apartment is booked for most of June and July, and will bring in more than $11,000 a month.

So in this case, it seems clear that hotelization in a neighborhood has replaced several housing units.

I called the contact number on the website and left a message for the general manager. I also sent an email. I have received no response.

The website is pretty clear: It offers “eco-friendly luxury vacation rentals in the heart of the city.”

Luxurious Egyptian cotton linens, goose-down comforters, premium firm memory foam mattresses, tasteful artwork, hand-blown Italian glass lighting fixtures, bathrooms with floor-to-ceiling marble tile, full soaking tubs with Jacuzzi jets, separate walk-in showers and European faucets and fixtures are just some of the touches that offer you both beauty and function.

All the basics are covered and complimentary as well. High-speed (30mbps) internet with secure wireless, dedicated private phone with answering machine and unlimited calling, premium satellite DIRECTV with movie channels, LED flat screen TV, and Bluray player. A clothes washer and dryer are free to use and we even supply eco-friendly detergent.

Even though you will be staying on a serene residential streets in San Francisco, you’ll be just a half a block from Market Street, the palm-tree lined main artery of San Francisco.

Each of our apartments are designed and outfitted to be homes we would love to live in. We’ve made a home for you in San Francisco.

The last remodeling permits issued by the city were in 2003. Maybe all that work was done back then – there are two $60,000 kitchen and bath upgrades. But not for the rest of the units.

There are so many more examples: This place has quite a selection of rentals that are available for less than 30 days.  Hard to tell without trying to book whether you can get an STR here.

As I say, I was tipped off by comments on my site and then spend an hour or so looking around. It wouldn’t take someone at City Planning much longer.

But the city doesn’t do that, so it appears that, beyond the Airbnb debate, plenty of illegal hotels are operating right now, without permits – and with complete impunity.

Simi told me:

Our best guess at this point is something around 50-60 [STR sites], but that is not verified. It isn’t uncommon for people to build their own website to rent out their room/unit, so it’s very difficult to determine an exact number.

Limited resources do not allow for dedicated staff to “watch” or monitor the sites. We are, as always, complaint based. All staff time goes to registration efforts and investigating/enforcing complaints.

I get the limited resources, but jeez: It’s not that hard. One staffer dedicated to searching for illegal hotels would be able to find way more than me in just a couple of days.

So yes: Airbnb isn’t the only violator. But the Campos bill would require any hosting platform, presumably including the ones for all these other rentals, not to list a place that isn’t registered with the city (which would mean the owner had to live there).

And Campos wants serious fines for violators – which would help, perhaps, pay for just a couple of enforcement staffers to go after the obvious violations.

Sup. Scott Wiener talked about his desire to go after the “bad actors” but leave alone the folks who occasionally rent out an extra bedroom to pay the mortgage or put their kids through college. Nobody – not Campos, not Share Better SF, not me – wants to stop that practice.

But right in his district, a block off Castro Street, is a hotel that does not appear to be run by a resident who is renting out an extra room. These are, as far as I can tell, housing units that have been taken off the market and turned into hotels. And there are plenty more in the city.

The reason  is simple: The ordinance that was passed last year, written in part by Airbnb and promoted by Sup. David Chiu, sent a message that the city wasn’t serious about cracking down on illegal hotels. So all sorts of other platforms and individual operations have sprung up and expanded, knowing that the city won’t do anything about them.

That’s why the existing law is a failure.

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.

272 COMMENTS

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  2. The problem is enforcement. How do you set up a system that controls any practice without enforcement? That is the issue that no one has dealt with yet. There is a ballot measure gathering signatures and steam that could change the dynamics if it passes. Instead of being dependent on the understaffed Planning Department to file and investigate the complaints, anyone would be able to file a private right of action.

  3. If he had truly free will he would have already evicted that lady. She could end up living there another five or ten years depending on whether or not she gets her own lawyer. Police and sheriffs are reluctant to forcibly evict truly handicapped or disabled people or senior citizens. If you rent to a senior citizen or disabled person you could be adopting them for life.
    Maybe there really is morphine in the drinking water. Everyone is acting dopey

  4. It does seem unfortunate that Mr Halprin didnt just ask you for advice about where he should live instead of acting by his own free will.

  5. You can take a tax loss for a vacant unit. And it means that, at any time if you decide to sell, it will be worth more money.

    It’s just an anecdote but I have owned ten rent-controlled units in SF and only one of them now has a long-term controlled tenant in it. I have used the others for a variety of purposes but long-term tenancies just don’t interest me because of rent control.

    And that is how rent control hurts tenants.

  6. Will all you useless cunts stop flirting and fuck each other already? Jesus tapdancing Christ there are less than 10 opinionated assholes contributing 200+ bickering comments to this article/column and they’re all equally useless. Get a room already. Pile in there and scream in each other’s faces til youre hysterical and resort to canibalism. You deserve one another. Bunch of whiners saying things about their neighbors they’d never say in person. Good grief, Charlie Brown.

  7. “Massive maintenance on the windows and roofs” called a capital improvement, you ignorant and arrogant freeloader. It needs to get approved by the Rental Board first.

  8. You know what I said is that people are not acting rationally. As I see it no one is being rational. Wouldn’t it be a more productive use of time to help the poor disabled tenant find somewhere else to live than to parade in front of the house? And why would Mr. Halpern, who I don’t know, want to go through the nightmare of having people hassle him on the way to work, demonstrate in front of his house and vilify him in the press just to live in San Francisco? He could build his own brand new house that no one else lives in closer to where he works and avoid the hassle. Everyone is being crazy. Is there heroin in the drinking water out there?

  9. The disease is greedy owners, scofflaws, and NIMBYs (the wealthy worried about their ‘views’).

  10. I can’t take seriously someone who doesn’t know the difference between ‘affect’ and ‘effect’. Your grammar is as good as your grasp on the SF housing situation: lacking.

  11. It’s a control issue for a lot of landlords. They simply don’t want to give a complete stranger that much control over their property for the rest of the tenant’s life. If and when they do this (or sell the unit as a TIC, it removes inventory for the supply of rental housing, thus driving up prices of the existing inventory.

  12. Everybody on this board can refute you, not that it will make a difference. You are too intelligent to be affected by logic.

  13. Most housing is still rental, though, isn’t it? Even after years of landlords having this opportunity. So why is this a trend we are worried about? As long as landlords are acting in a way that is consistent with the law (not turning the unit into a hotel, not falsely evicting tenants), then landlords – as I’m sure you would argue, have every right to pull their units. They will be making a lot less money for having it sit vacant, though.

  14. We don’t tolerate racists, homophobes, sexists, etc., so there’s no reason to tolerate ‘neighbors’ who are adding to the housing crisis, gouging renters, etc.

  15. That’s…just not true. I received a rental increase *on top of my annual increase* because the owners had to do massive maintenance on the windows and roof. So, either you’re ignorant or you’re lying.

  16. I see. So, genocide of the native americans is the same as asking someone to leave the apt that they do not own.

  17. Again, you miss the point. RC landlords don’t pull their units from the market because they can charge market rate rent (for the time being) they do it because they don’t want to be stuck with a lifetime tenant who’ll be paying below market rate in a few years (and beyond).

  18. And you would have a city full of snitches and people hating on their neighbors

    Is that you vision for the city renowned for its tolerance?

  19. He is the one trying to convince voters that he should continue to be subsidized.

    It is his landlord who decides when he gets sick of subsidizing him.

    Either way, the number of controlled tenants declines every year. So we will reach a point where there is no longer a support for continuing such largesse.

  20. To some extent but it is a real hassle requiring hearings at the rent board, and often lawyers, and so is often not worth the effort. And low-income tenants don’t have to pay it anyway. Most landlords don’t bother to do it.

    I can generally tell which buildings on a block are rentals just by looking at the condition of the building.

  21. It has nothing to do with me. I don’t have HIV and I care that people have access to treatment. I’m not hungry and I care that people are fed. I don’t have children and I care that education is accessible to all. I don’t live in the Mission and I care that people are being displaced.

    Oh, and however “dumb” I may be, I’m smarter than you.

  22. Another ignorant post. Under rent control, the rent on vacant units can be sky high – whatever the landlords wants.

  23. Nonsense. Landlords are allowed to pass maintenance costs to tenants under rent control.

    Please refrain from spreading your ignorance.

  24. I totally agree that the city should hire this person. I would *love* if the city showed that type of creativity in their hiring.

  25. This is all fair enough, but if this “bad actor” is shut down it is unlikely these units will return to the rental market. Thanks to our draconian rent control laws, these units would most likely end up being sold as TIC’s, adding a few more homeowners to the mix!

  26. The thing the rent-control crowd fails to realize is that the rent collected from long-term residents doesn’t cover the cost of maintenance. Therefore decaying housing stock.
    It is the shame how many Victorians are falling apart in Nopa, Haight-Ashbury and Mission.

  27. Zoning Laws are not set in stone. They have a long history of institutionalizing racial discrimination and economic inequality.

  28. We couldn’t because the level of building that would need to take place to make meaningful impact would almost by definition be undesirable. I guess you’re right that it’s conceivable, but not without dramatically changing the city. But you’re right.

  29. Ah, I see. Of course, there are other arguments against AirBNB besides that it pushes up rents (impact on neighborhoods and buildings by come and go tenants, etc) but I get your point.

  30. From the Game Theory point of view, if a system imposes a set of rules that are restrictive (unjust) to its participants, they create their own subset of rules to counterbalance it. Therefore a shadow economy.
    San Francisco’s NIMBYs advocated for unjust rules to the rest of the city, now the result.

  31. If you complain about build build build, and also complain about the affordability problem, you are a hypocrite. It’s really that simple.

  32. NIMBYism is well alive and kicking.

    You live in a fantasy world, Izsac. A fantasy graveyard to be exact. You may believe that the law of supply and demand is dead as well.

  33. It would be easier to support Tim and Campos here if they weren’t always trying to manage symptoms, rather than battling the actual disease.

    The disease isn’t luxury housing or home sharing rentals. It isn’t speculation or foreign property owners.

    The disease is a housing shortage caused by an imbalance of supply and demand. The city’s population is expanding more rapidly than our already constrained supply of housing. Until progressives come forward with some real ideas to increase the supply of housing for everyone, they deserve all the ridicule they get.

  34. You can get dizzy trying to understand progressive logic.

    Suffice to say that if Airbnb subtracts market rate units it has a material affect on the housing crisis.

    But if you add entirely new market rate units it has no effect.

    It isn’t supposed to make sense.

  35. And it’s one of the major reasons rents are so high for the people not lucky enough to live in a rent-controlled unit.

  36. I’m not advocating “landlords having an easier time”. I’m just looking for a reason that justifies someone paying below market rate rent. Why do they deserve it?

  37. Fair enough, but with our draconian rent control laws, if you stopped this “bad actor” these units are unlikely to come back to the rental market. More likely to be sold as TIC’s, adding some new homeowners to the mix!

  38. I mean, I don’t know why I bother.. This is the guy who said “what’s wrong with not building?” as if population is static.

  39. The City could set up a vacation rental enforcement division with hefty fines and an anonymous tip line, the program would pay for itself; probably running a surplus.

  40. There are many many different factors which can influence rental prices over the long run and short run – weather patterns, businesses moving in and out of areas, thousands of highly paid workers who all want to live in the same place for example, which Boston doesn’t have. I have my suspicions that some people got very very rich possibly from limiting short term housing available before moving big profitable tech companies to SF.
    Sure, everyone sees your point that SF is for people who can afford it. But people don’t always think rationally when it comes to land and location. The next time Prime Minister Netanyahu starts to rant about Iran developing a nuclear weapon someone could ask him “Dude, if you’re so sure your neighbor wants to annihilate you why don’t you just move someplace nicer? In fact, why don’t all the Jewish people say “We’re sick and tired of being surrounded by Arabs who hate us we’re starting a new state in the undeveloped regions of Northern Canada. They could very easily move – but It won’t happen in a million years. Jerusalem is sacred to a lot of people – and many of them would and have given their lives to stay there.
    The Native Americans could very easily have moved around when the Pilgrims came to New England . North America was such a sparsely inhabited continent it was almost absurd to be fighting over land. There was so much land it was given away. Yet, they felt that their own land that was sacred to them was being desecrated by strangers. It wasn’t rational – nor was Al Quaida’s terrorist attacks on the United states, and they are very clear and explicit about why they did it. The US was in land that is sacred to the Muslims.
    Land can have spiritual value to some people for reasons they may not fully understand. And if there are some old timers in San Francisco who still feel a bond to the place for their own reasons the city and the newcomers should at least make some type of an effort to respect that rather than just scorning them as a bunch of losers.

  41. “SF’s rent control … was not paired with increased building.”

    DING DING DING. Strong rent controls + no new construction = a giant “I’ve got mine, f-you” to the next generation.

  42. Right now, most of those championing tenants’ rights in SF are currently fighting to make it essentially impossible for anyone else to ever move into SF, all in the name of protecting existing tenants – and in particular, the rent-controlled ones. (Tenants without rent control just get to see their rents jump higher and higher as the demand keeps rising and nothing gets built, but that doesn’t seem to concern them much, oddly.)

  43. I think types of rent stabilization are good for cities and their vulnerable populations. That said SF’s rent control is not means tested (it should be) and was not paired with increased building. Rent control, while protecting old ladies also incentivizes kicking them out. When long term tenants are paying 25-50% of market rate, there is a lot of pressure to get them out however you can.

  44. Many of you who already have a comfortable housing situation in SF are fine with no building, of course – and you extend a giant middle finger to everyone who doesn’t have access to that yet. That’s why you’re NIMBYs.

  45. almond doesn’t care about what’s important to anyone; classic narcissist with a hole in his soul; no name calling here – just an astute observation

  46. Texas sucks for those reasons, but non of them have anything to do with land use or housing policy…

  47. check your grammar as well; again, money cannot buy you everything – like a heart and soul and basic grammar skills

  48. Oh man, that’s rich. If you don’t build, prices rise. When prices rise, you incentivize displacing low-rent tenants and replacing them with short term rentals and TICs.

  49. speak for yourself only: I don’t jaywalk, pay all taxes and I am very glad there are regulations on foodstuffs: did you ever experience food poisoning – I am glad there are regulations in place

  50. i couldn’t stop laughing when you chose to use the state of Texas as an exemplary model for anything – from voter suppression to incompetent governors to their closing down of women’s clinics: Texas has done it all. You will have no trouble there – please go

  51. Sounds like you are describing the precious elite who will prevail when they demand that no sewage plants be built in their backyard –

  52. no, he didn’t -just like your caricature of Campos is incorrect: Campos was representing the tenants of his district – who are experiencing an extreme housing crisis.

  53. Maybe no crap will be built? That is what a lot of us want. Not everybody is on board with build build build, you know?

  54. Izsak, what pro rent control people never seem to grasp is that if there wasn’t rent control these “grandmothers” would never be forced out when they are 80 and disabled because their middle aged self would have moved out earlier.

    Rent control causes displacement of elders just like sugary drinks cause type 2 diabetes. The City has banned sugary drinks (on City property) and with their logic should ban rent control.

  55. Except its not even endless building, its any building. As it was said in a recent planning commission meeting: “people say Not in my Backyard, I say, Not in my City”

  56. It’s a term that, when used, portrays others in a deeply cynical way. All self-interest is not hypocrisy. It’s a divisive term that portrays people as ‘types.’ I never liked it and don’t use it. In my book, you can not want endless building in your neighborhood, and not be a hypocrite.

  57. Explain to me how supply and demand doesn’t apply when it comes to SF’s housing crisis, but supply and demand does apply when the supply is constricted by AIRbnb

  58. Its hilarious that someone in SF would argue that the term NIMBY is dead. SF is perhaps the greatest example of NIMBY empowerment among large cities in the US. We literally wrote the book on how to NOT build.

  59. That’s fine – a landlord’s gotta do what a landlords gotta do. But the majority of people who are at risk – the renters who have been here for decades – will benefit because they won’t constantly have to move ship in search of cheaper rents.

  60. I can demand that. Being a resident and voter in San Francisco. Public policy is always based on peoples’ personal preferences – that’s how democracy works.

  61. Yeah, the important thing about that term – if you choose to use it – I really dislike it (or the way it is often used), is that it’s supposed to apply to people who are hypocrites, or only self-interested – and will not recognize the public good. Of course, people don’t all agree on what the public good would look like. Defending what goes on directly around us seems like an extremely natural thing to do, and a tendency that is as old as time. I don’t see people who want to legislate against AirBnB and VRBO as “NIMBY-ers” because they’re not on board with you that AirBnB should be around in the capacity it is, in the first place. You presume an agreement with your standpoint, when you have no proof that it is true. Many of us do not want AirBnB, but can feel comfortable allowing a little of it…it’s not hypocritical for us to then rally against it in our own neighborhoods, which is what you suggest by using the term NIMBY-er. That’s why the term sucks, because of how sloppily it’s used.

  62. Sure you can care more about it

    But what you cannot reasonably do is demand that all the crap be built elsewhere just because you live there. Public policy should not be based on your personal preferences

  63. I fail to grasp why someone would not care most about the neighborhood they live in. It seems like that is natural to living in a place – that you care about what goes on around you.

  64. You totally missed my point. If, as a landlord, I decide not to rent out a place, it harms tenants by reducing supply and therefore driving up rents

    The landlord will do just fine anyway.

    And displacement will continue. Thousands of SF rentals become vacant every year for a variety of reasons

  65. Whatever plays out on your own mind (the mind of a “winner”) is what’s important to you, that much is true.

  66. Rent Subsidy is targeted, no not everyone could afford to live here. Just as now not everyone can afford to live here. But it would mean a higher turnover of available housing and less hording of housing. Which could only be good.

  67. That’s only a problem for landlords. Most people aren’t too worried about the landlords, and why should they be? Landlords will figure out a way to do good business, as you suggest. What’s important is that people not be displaced. There already are no cheap rents in SF, and there never have been in my lifetime, or my parents’ lifetime, despite what some will have you think. It’s only more expensive than it used to be – it already was expensive.

  68. It is not a term of degradation. It is a term for those who try and argue that their neighborhood is more important than others for no reason other than that they live there

  69. And yet the city will still need sewage plants. And hospitals, and public transit, and housing of all kinds. A NIMBY wants other people, elsewhere, to always bear the burden of these things, and everyone else is worse off for it.

  70. It is not breaking the law to not rent out a home. I can keep it vacant, sell it as a TIC or put it to some other use

    Your problem is that you cannot compel me to re-rent a unit when I get a vacancy. You can only hope that I do it anyway

  71. I don’t care for the term. If a “NIMBYer” is someone that doesn’t want a sewage plant in their backyard, then yes there are NIMBYers – I just don’t get how it’s a term of degradation, since obviously no one would want a sewage plant in their backyard.

  72. The problem is that landlords get sick of the lifers and Ellis, switch to short-term lets or sell as TICs.

    Rent control helps some incumbents but kills off the rentals ector at the margin by demotivating landlords. That is the thrust of the Cato article you couldn’t be bothered to read.

    Price controls work in the short run, but fail in the long run. In 20-40 years, there will be no cheap rents in SF.

  73. Well, having the laws that we do, these people either have to evade them and risk punishment, or move their business elsewhere. Am I not getting your point?

  74. Everyone breaks laws. People jaywalk. Cyclists don’t stop at stop signs. You probably do not declare your out-of-state purchases for sales tax. And so on.

    Usually we decide to not obey laws because we do not agree with them. So the left wants zero tolerance on short-term lets and yet turns a blind eye to vandalism and damage by Occupy or blacklivesmatter protests

    We all rationalize our technical infringements

  75. I did not say rents would go down, I said it keeps it expensive for everyone else, there is a big difference.
    Keep the name calling to a minimum as your an easy target too.

  76. There are always winners and losers. San Franciscans are just trying to stay the winners (have been since the 1970’s) instead of Stanford STEM majors or whoever we’re supposed to be surrendering our apartments to with more aplomb.

  77. Anything specific? The Fountainhead? Memoirs of Alan Greenspan’s successful run at the Fed? Cato Institute study? Book adaptation of ‘Fast and the Furious’? What’s your pleasure?

  78. Yes, Tim, keep reporting here – we’re not snowed by these other comments here – we understand the attack on everyone’s lives by speculators.

  79. Ah, but what happens when those who give you that cheap rent decide that they don’t want to do it any more?

    Everyone wants a free lunch but not many people want to give them away

  80. They can move somewhere else, just as they are so happy to tell people who have actually lived here more than 1.5 years to do.

  81. Because the public = renters. It’s in the public’s interest to have cheap rent because the public wants cheap rent. Being the public, as well as renters.

  82. You haven’t won any debate – you’re economically privileged and heartless, as far as I’m concerned.

  83. It’s important to him that he stays here. He doesn’t give a shit about what’s important to you – and why should he? You don’t give a shit about what’s important to him. Troll.

  84. Why is it in the public interest that you have cheap rent?

    How would the rest of us be harmed if you had to move to Oakand?

  85. The experience in Boson when rent control went away was that some rents went up (the formerly controlled rents, obviously) but the market rent for vacant units went down.

    Importantly, the average rent went down AND there were more places available for rent AND the system was fairer because there was no longer winners and losers like we have in SF

  86. Not everyone is wealthy and can afford the high rents here – why should housing speculators be allowed to drive everyone out?

  87. How could rents go down if rent control is removed? Wouldn’t they all go up? Explain, please –

  88. Rent subsidy can never substitute for rent control that keeps rents low enough for people to be here without paying a fortune.

  89. Again, ‘everyone else’ we’re not concerned about – they certainly aren’t looking out for us (a common refrain is ‘if you can’t afford it here (where I was born and raised), move somewhere else!’ Ok, man – yeah I’m definitely all about making it easier for you to kick me out of my home! Thanks for ‘teaching’ me! Maybe *you* guys can move somewhere else – if you can’t afford it here – I know, because of the horrible rent control!

  90. I believe that the city has no legitimate right to tell me who I can have stay in my home and for how long. I believe that is an unjust law, and that any revenues the city extracts from that is a “taking” and an illegal forfeiture.

    Therefore I consider my actions to be that of a freedom fighter and warrior for social justice

  91. Great – good for you you’re ability to evade the law won’t be affected, too much. I guess in order to be a ‘winner’ (definitely not a ‘loser’), you have to abandon the good faith of your community. Pure awesomeness, dude! Winners find a way to cheat!

  92. No, the request wasn’t for a negative. It was for an affirmative. Reveal which addresses I am illegally renting out short-term.

    I’ll wait.

  93. Great tactic! Let’s see if I can use it: Prove that you don’t molest children. See, you can’t prove that, so it must be true!

    Troll.

  94. Rents have gone up since ith inflation and growth

    But they went down at the time – that’s the point

  95. Ah, so you bleat endlessly about rent control because you don’t have it! You were dumb enough to rent a non-controlled unit?

    Woo hoo.

  96. Compared with Airbnb handing over names and addresses, I am 10,000 times safer.

    But you can easily prove me wrong by revealing the address of any property of mine where i am doing this. What are you waiting for?

  97. And I’m telling again that you are delusional, this time if you think you can’t be traced.

  98. CraigsList has an IP address and an email address. That’s it.

    So even if you were to subpeona them (and you’d have to file a lawsuit and get a court order to get them to do that), it still wouldn’t help you much. Especially if I used a proxy server.

    And oftentimes it is the Guest who places the ad and I just respond to it. So you go chasing your tail all over Europe. And for what purpose?

  99. That’s really not it but whatever. Obviously no one wants sewage in their backyard. God you people are dense.

  100. ‘Everyone else’ is who we’re trying to have not swoop our apartment. We’re not worried about ‘everyone else’ – they certainly aren’t worried about us. We’re worried about ourselves.

  101. Me having access to Craigslist logs is not the same as denying that Craigslist has logs of all transactions, your MAC address, etc.

  102. I’m not here to answer every one of your requests. Why don’t *you* find the statistics that will prove my point?

  103. “So there is no record to trace the deals back to me – only the host and the guest know the details.”

    Grandpa, you are mistaken.

  104. Why would you think that? I am making great scratch and love the changes we are seeing in SF. I love winners and success.

  105. I really am not concerned about answering every question an internet troll asks of me. It’s not like I have anything to prove. We get it dude, being a landlord is hard. Someone call the waambulance. No one is buying your ‘If you can’t afford it here, move to Antioch, so landlords can have an easier time’ argument. Get over it. Move on.

  106. It’s not really more effort to not use Airbnb. In fact CraigsList has always worked well for me. I don’t even need to place an ad – I just respond to ad’s of people looking for a place. So there is no record to trace the deals back to me – only the host and the guest know the details.

    Another idea is to rent directly to a corporation or college who them rotate people through there short-term. Puts me arm’s length from the lets and rent control doesn’t apply because the lessee isn’t a resident.

    There’s also a good demand for rentals of one to six months. Pick carefully and you will never get stuck with a lifer-loser.

    And I haven’t even told you my best ideas.

  107. Really? How is it unjust to follow zoning regulations when they are explicitly stated before you purchase a property. Are you suggesting people had no notice? How is it unjust to pay taxes on revenue you receive pursuant to the tax code?

  108. I wasn’t arguing fair or right. But governments make these kinds of decisions all the time. And frankly, every time the minimum wage is increased, business people make threats of how they are going to fire everyone and hyperventilate about the how awful it is for the economy, but it is usually good for the economy.

    I’m saying that San Francisco benefits from long-term residents. The city decided to regulate some rental units. They met their objective.

  109. It’s the opposite of short-sighted. It’s trying to keep people here for a long time, rather than having them to pick up and move every time a Zynga employee needs their space. You didn’t say it was complicated, it’s just that you’re failing to grasp a pretty simple concept that’s been on the books for four decades – keep rents stable for people who are already here, so they don’t have to pick up and move all the time, like a restaurant that constantly relocates itself every time it’s lease is up, in search of cheaper rents.

  110. If you believe that eliminating rent control will cause prices to fall, you are ignorant.

    Maybe you should read about why it was implemented.

  111. Laws are amended and repealed and changed all the time. Just because it’s a law doesn’t mean it’s fair or right.

  112. We have had price controls on businesses for decades, including minimum wage. There is nothing sacred about being a landlord that should exempt that business from whatever government regulations a jurisdiction may have.

  113. Of course not. But to the extent we can control it, we’d like to keep our family members and friends around – ya know? In our home town? Rent control is one of the ways we accomplish that. It’s not that complicated.

  114. Oil doesn’t rely on human brain capital. It’s just a commodity. Your point about excessive legislation makes no sense if you’re comparing SF to a land-rich undesirable city like Houston. Feel free to compare SF to NYC, Seattle, or something on par (heck even Austin).

  115. This city has a long and proud tradition of civil disobedience against unjust laws. I am happy to be part of that fight

  116. It’s disingenuous to say they are subsidizing anyone. By that logic, the non-rent controlled tenant could also be said to be “subsidizing” the lifestyle of the landlord who bought their building in 1955. It’s not a good use of the word.

  117. Or claiming someone has been “defeated”. If you have to do that, you’ve generally lost.

    I asked you to provide statistics, and you could not.

  118. The logic that just because you’re cheating the system in a different way means we shouldn’t try to stop the big cheaters is, for a lack of a better term, moronic.

  119. Focusing on AirBnB is a starting point. After the legal approach and operational issues have been worked-out we can use that model as a way of going after others.

    As for Conway, he started this war. And we’re going to finish it. But yeah, he is just a distraction.

  120. And it keeps it expensive for everyone else. There is something called Rent subsidy that can be targeted to help the vulnerable. But our current leadership have not got imagination for alternatives.

  121. Houston has oil. They do OK

    But my point was about excessive legislation and not residential desirability.

  122. Ah, the sign of a great intellect – someone whose every point has been defeated, but still thinks the other person ‘doesn’t get it.’

  123. No one deserves or has the right to live in San Francisco just because they grew up here. There are plenty of more affordable areas. People move for financial reasons all the time.

  124. The term will only die when the practice dies. Campos’ now-stalled moratorium idea was classic NIMBYism based, as it was, on Mission exceptionalism.

    His claim was that the Mission is somehow special and different, and therefore should get to export its development to other parts of the city.

    Everyone wants that new sewage facility to be built somewhere else. It’s understandable, but not in any way helpful. Pointing it out is a useful function.

    NIMBYisn is incompatible with affordable housing. Choose which one you prefer.

  125. You completely missed the point. Why should landlords subsidize and support RC tenants when all of us, as you claim, benefit from long term tenants?

  126. Stop comparing us to Houston. I’ve lived there, it’s a mosquito ridden, high humidity, tar filled beach, super urban sprawl of a city. That’s why it’s so damn cheap. Plus there’s no tech industry with good salaries. Population growth because of cheap land is not something SF can imitate.

  127. I don’t think that. I just don’t care. And I do care that people I love can live in the city they grew up in. No work is easy. Not sure how to respond to the last part, since we are extrapolating a little bit.

  128. You think being a landlord is easy? Think again. There will always be landlords. What makes you think replacing them will make things any better for anyone?

  129. It’s confusing to figure out how to get the metal thingy into the buckle. I think i’ll just stop driving altogether.

  130. It’s fine. Ultimately, we care more about each other than that landlords have an easy time doing business. It’s just called compassion. There are plenty of places to do business, and it’s certainly easy to sell your prop in SF and just buy something in rent control-free areas of the Bay. No one will be crying that the landlord had to pick up shop, and your grandma won’t have to move to Hayward. So everyone’s happy.

  131. Some of these miscreants are still complaining about seat-belt laws. Because, you know, the goal posts.

  132. That doesn’t mean I think criminal behavior is warranted. Just pointing out that the whole “landlords know what they’re getting into” argument is rendered moot when The City keeps making amendments to the law that are usually to their detriment and the tenant’s benefit.

  133. When you said that landlords would be more than happy to obey the law if the city wouldn’t keep moving the goalposts.

  134. San Francisco is less than .01% of the total land mass in the US, and our politics are very well known. And yet investors keep coming. I suggest that just about anywhere in the rest of the country would be a better place for those troubled by SF’s politics, rules and business practices.

  135. Again, nobody gives a shit about inconveniences to landlords. It’s really beside the point. Anytime you suggest that criminal behavior is warranted because the law simply isn’t able to be followed (which is essentially what you’re suggesting), you have already lost your argument, by the way.

  136. Well thanks for putting me right, hard for me to keep up with the kids and what language is current dare I say hip?
    I am not shaming them for caring, I think we all care. I am shaming them for being incompetent.

  137. Most are. I know, I know ‘My coworker lives in Tahoe but keeps his apartment as a pied-à-terre.’ I don’t automatically assume anything.

  138. You automatically assume all rent control tenants are in “fragile situations”, which isn’t the case. Rent control should be means tested to benefit those who need it, instead of just being based on tenure.

  139. It would be nice if people stopped trying to sell things to us by using the ‘housing crisis’ as impetus, period. Because everyone knows we are not going to build our way into affordability. It’s disingenuous that some suggest we could.

  140. I’m sure most landlords would be more than happy “obeying the law” if The City didn’t keep moving the goalposts every few years.

  141. The city benefits from long-term residents. The city does not benefit from landlords. You want to business here, obey the law or work to change it.

  142. Here is the irony: When people are being evicted to make way for mega developments or when developers want variances so that they can make more money, everyone says it is because we’re in a ‘housing crisis.’ But when people break the law by converting housing to short term rentals, we don’t have the resources to deal with it, – and what crisis?

  143. Nobody gives a shit about landlords, sorry. People in fragile situations get priority. Landlords are just businessmen so they get second shrift.

  144. And the thing rent control supporters fail to grasp is why it should be the responsibility of private landlords to support and subsidize these long term tenants. If you feel this is a benefit for society, then society should pay for it.

  145. Oh, give it up. The term NIMBY is so dead, by the way. In what other area would people attempt to shame others for just having the audacity to care what goes on in their own backyard?

  146. Yeah, but what makes AirBnB so worthy of legislation is how easy and accessible it is, its worldwide name recognition also contributing to it’s power as a platform (not that CL doesn’t have world recognition, but obviously it’s not as streamlined – doesn’t facilitate payment, etc). It’s not that people won’t find other ways, but they will have to spend more effort, and so short term rentals are not as likely to become institutionalized as practice

  147. The thing anti-rent control people never seem to grasp is that rent control keeps SF affordable for longtime San Franciscans, which is the entire point. As bad as the housing crisis is, many more grandmothers and people on a fixed income would have had to move out of their hometown a long long time ago if there hadn’t been controls. I know, I know ‘If they can’t afford San Francisco, they should move somewhere else.’

  148. Of course. I started doing short-term lets back in the 1990’s, via CraigsList and other conduits.

    The focus on Airbnb is because it is the biggest, and is located in SF. And of course the Conway factor.

    But it is silly and ineffective. People like me have moved two steps beyond Airbnb precisely because it is getting too much scrutiny. There are many ways to skin this cat.

  149. which is why we do it – because we know at the end of the trip the people we are hosting are leaving vs putting up with some bullshit renter who is a pain in the ass and wants to be a pain in the ass because rent control is more in favor of them vs the landlord. Do away with rent control and that solves the rent control problem a bit.

  150. If you like things the way that they are now, then you should definitely vote Peskin. He’s been there.

  151. @Rick Galbreath – Actually it isn’t hypocrisy at all. Most of us don’t like these pop-up hotels either and they are currently illegal under the Chiu law.

    But we do think that there is a lot of confusion out there. For example, you mention/blame ANnB twice in your post.

    Did you notice at all that Tim is pointing out huge violations that have ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with Airbnb. People have been renting out rooms forever, there is a financial incentive to do so and the internet makes it easier.

    People who are just focusing on Airbnb are doing a disservice to those who want to find a pragmatic solution.

    If Airbnb had never been created, if Ron Conway had never been born, there would still be a problem.

    There just wouldn’t be a boogeyman to build simplistic ‘solutions’ around.

  152. Wait….there are egregious violations of the STR law that do not involve Airbnb in any way, shape or manner?????

    I am shocked to hear this, and I’ve been reading 48 Hills religiously. I’ve read many times that Airbnb needs to turn over its customer data because that is the only way that we’ll know how many nights a unit is rented. Apparently that would be a futile effort. My world is shaken.

    And apparently it isn’t that hard to find violators. Who knew? Tim still seems to feel that it would make a difference if the hosting platforms were held accountable for their host’s paper work.

    We still need to work on that part.

  153. I read the other day that the Texas legislature meets for five months every two years. That is all they feel they need.

    SF has more supervisors than some cities five times its size, like LA, and they are always “on”.

    SF is obsessed with passing ever more laws on ever more trivial stuff. And once you pass a law, people find 101 ways around the law, and so you need to pass 101 more laws to try and stop the loopholes. Each of which then has another 101 loopholes, and so on. It never ends.

    So the city is in a death spiral. Its laws propagate exponentially because there is no limit to the number of people and politicians howling that “there should be a law against it” or “we need more enforcement”. No, what we need is more freedom.

    Meanwhile Houston, whose population is growing faster than SF, has some of the lowest home prices and rents in the nation. Sometimes less is more.

    The cult of the politician as savior should be thoroughly dismantled here.

  154. It seems like all these rules got us in this position in the first place. Why would we vote back in Peskin and others who caused the issues we are facing today.

    We need to find leaders who have new ideas and not just add anti Landlord laws.

    All the old NIMBYS tying to hang on to their little piece of San Francisco will never provide a solution to the issues they caused. Campos, Peskin, Ammiano, Avalos etc, have failed us why look to them for anything but more failure.

  155. Totally agree, The hassle of renting short term is a pain, but it is worth it not to have a rent controlled tenant with more protections than the building owner

  156. SF is short of hotel rooms and short-term homes in much the same way as it is short of long-term homes. In both cases, it is very hard to build more. In fact I can only think of two large hotels that have been built in the last 15 years.

    Adequate new supply of homes and hotels would exert downward pressure on prices. But NIMBY zoning prevents us ever finding out.

    I understand NIMBYism and I understand those who advocate for affordable housing. I just can never understand how anyone can credibly support both at the same time

  157. Tim– you should also point out the hypocrisy of the supply siders supporting ABnB: if they really believe that more housing on the market will drive down prices, they should be supporting Campos. Also point out the rise in hotel room rates– ABnB flooding the market with STRs has not driven down room rates as the rules of the “Invisible Hand” would dictate.

  158. 11K a month assumes that the unit is rented out constantly. anyone who has done short-term lets (and I have done a lot – don’t hate me) knows that you have null days. Weekdays are harder than week-ends, and winter is harder than summer.

    In fact I would say the real reason to go short-term is not money. When you take into account the need to furnish and equip the units, and the work involved in all that turnover, it is not more profitable.

    The key is that property owners quite simply do not want to deal with rent control and the risk that you will be stuck with a tenant for life. and that is priceless.

  159. Doubt it would be $11,000 a month for a small. unit. Maybe. Maybe TICs, but at least that would be permanent housing for SF residents. This will never be low-income housing and prob. wasn’t in many years, but all those folks who say we need to build more housing “at all levels” — what about preserving what we already have?

  160. Tim, all well and good, but do you really believe that if the city stopped Casa Luna, that those units would somehow magically be used to house low-income residents?

    The genie is out of the bottle and those units are already vacant, meaning that they will never again be affordable. Either they rent for 5K a month or they get sold as TIC’s.

    It’s good that you have an avenue to rant, but closing down such enterprises will not house a single person that you would like to see being affordably housed.

    Oh, and there are a few other ways owners can skirt the rules on short-term lets, that would really annoy you. But I’m not going to let on. You’re just going to have to guess.

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