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Monday, September 20, 2021

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UncategorizedNo surprise -- mayor sides with Airbnb

No surprise — mayor sides with Airbnb

Fall campaign comes into clearer focus as Lee, Chiu line up with a company that makes money when people break city laws

Guess what? Mayor Lee is siding with Airbnb
Guess what? Mayor Lee is siding with Airbnb

By Tim Redmond

JULY 28, 2017 — The politics of the Airbnb measure became a lot more clear yesterday as Mayor Ed Lee and Assemblymember and former Sup. David Chiu joined the short-term rental company, whose supporters have bankrolled their campaigns, in opposing any real regulations.

So now there’s no doubt that this measure will be part of the fall referendum on the Lee Administration’s policies and will put into sharp focus the role of big tech money in setting the city’s policies.

Julie Carrie Wong does a good job laying out the connections:

Both Airbnb and the politicians who support it are quick to point out that the “Airbnb law” sponsored by David Chiu and passed by the Board of Supervisors last year isn’t just about Airbnb, but all short-term rental platforms. However, the campaign committee set up to fight the short-term rental ballot initiative is organized and financed by Airbnb.

That committee — San Francisco for Everyone — has raised $300,000 from Airbnb and $100 from 50+1 Strategies. 50+1 Strategies is the political consulting firm that ran David Chiu’s successful Assembly campaign and organized the “Fair to Share” astroturf campaign in favor of Chiu’s Airbnb law. Chiu’s Assembly campaign was supported by a $685,000 independent expenditure from Airbnb investors Ron Conway and Reid Hoffman.

Scott Wiener’s campaign for state senate has been endorsed by Chip Conley, Airbnb’s head of global hospitality.

According to the Chronicle, Airbnb has also hired two political consultants with national profiles to craft the campaign against ShareBetter SF: Chris Lehane and Joe Slade White.

And of course, Conway is the  mayor’s best bud, and is in the room at most of his key policy discussions, and has given tons of money to the mayor’s campaigns and causes.

This will play out in the critical D3 race, another referendum on Lee: Sup. Julie Christensen has put herself clearly in the Airbnb camp, and her challenger, Aaron Peskin, is a supporter of the fall initiative to regulate short-term rentals.

So forget all the campaign mailers and ads that you see featuring people who just want to rent out a spare room to make ends meet in a brutally expensive city. That’s the astroturf strategy these folks are developing.

It’s really about whether a $25 billion company can set the rules for housing in San Francisco. And whether the politicians that company is supporting can be held accountable.

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.
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  1. Hrm? No, I am not. We are building thousands of units a year and prices are going up. I belief 14k people came into the city last year.

    It’s either tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands, but that it is not hundreds or thousands has been proven demonstrably. I have no idea what the actual number is and don’t claim to, but we all know that there is a LOT of demand.

  2. Why are Craigslist, Homeaway, etc..etc.. next? They were platforms for short-term rentals way before Airbnb came into existence. Do you know what the criteria is to qualify for someone to get a permit to do short term rentals?

  3. Gary..why just only Airbnb? What about other hosting platforms like VRBO, Homeaway, Wimdu, Flipkey, Craigslist, Real Estate agents who find short term clients for investors owning units or homes in the city?? What is your vendetta against Airbnb?

  4. Airbnb collects the TOT at the time of the booking and remits it monthly to the SF Treasury. Airbnb sends each host at the end of the year a 1099 with the total earnings and the IRS also gets a copy. So if a host does not report that income on their taxes, the IRS knows it and can come after the host for unreported earnings.

  5. Under the current legislature only San Francisco residents who have been living in a unit for at least 275 days a year , who have registered and have a Business License and a STR Permit can do short-term renting a maximum of 90 days a year. This means some units are not qualified…like units owned as second homes or vacation homes . The Planning Dept will not issue a permit if one cannot prove that they are qualified to meet the criteria. You have to show driver’s license with that unit’s address or your your voter registration and utility bills. Allowing whole units when it’s not occupied by a San Francisco is not a good idea considering that those units could be used for long-term renters.

  6. The Planning Dept is supposed to enforce the law so they would be the ones subpoenaing for the data. Or the District Attorney could also subpoena for the data. Are you saying that everyone in the Planning Dept and the District Attorney’s office is owned by Conway?

  7. Just because an “entire unit” is rented out over-night doesn’t mean that any harm has been done to anyone else, absent an eviction specifically for that purpose, which is illegal anyway if it was a controlled unit.

  8. Sorry but in progressive eyes that still makes you a rabid running-dog regressive landlord and exploiter of children and seniors. The very act of offering people housing in this city makes you the ant-Christ

  9. The Planning Department cannot enforce the existing laws and many within the department have stated that.

    AirBnB COULD easily solve this problem by providing data, but they won’t. The have also invested heavily in our BOS and David Chiu, so the only remediation is the ballot initiative.

    Sorry that renting out your place 75 nights a year won’t pay your bills. If you can’t make ends meet with that, maybe you should consider downsizing. What is your break-even? The limit in London is 90 days.

  10. I have one residence with several rooms I can host at differing times of the year. I have never evicted anyone or taken any housing units off the market. I can’t do LTR in these rooms nor would I want to. I pay income tax and my guest pay the hotel tax, and yes, I am registered. Yes there is a lot at stake for me. The income I make from hosting allows me to pay my mortgage and property taxes, and remain in this city I grew up in and raised my family. There are a lot of hosts like me and we are angry at being scapegoated for the housing crisis in the city. I’m proud to have worked with other hosts to get the STR ordinance passed as we know that regulation is needed. The law is a good law but needs time to be implemented.
    If you are considering hosting, then you should be very threatened by the ballot initiative. The private right of action provision alone is onerous and downright scary (as I believe it’s intention is to wipe out home sharing altogether). The 75 day cap might not be a problem for you, but it would be a big problem for me.

  11. ?? Don’t be so defensive.

    My comment was in reference to Gary’s suggestion that the only “helping” involves financial sacrifice.

    I am not against STRs, ,at least a small amount of them. In fact I’m not opposed to renting out entire units; because I see it as a way for a property owner to recoup some of their investment while still maintaining control (like your partner and his occasional room useage/ letting). Turning whole neighborhoods into STR’s is probably not a good thing. But then permanently enshrining people in rent controlled units isn’t either, IMHO.

  12. We had a shot at fair and reasonable but it was squandered. Lee and Chiu had a chance to get it right when they developed the law last year, but instead they let Airbnb write it.

    Now Lee is trying to paper over the unenforceability issue with a staff to track down the “bad apples” instead of the more effective tactic of forcing Airbnb to help the city enforce the law.

    The 75-day figure is a compromise and it will not kill homesharing. Mom and pop can still rent out a spare room under the hosting rules but people with multiple units — and yes they do exist — could lose some income. I sympathize with mom and pop, but not with the big operators.

  13. Gary, seriously…were you living in San Francisco during the first tech boom in the early to mid 90’s? We had a serious crisis then. I was a renter then and my then landlord wanted me out of my rent controlled unit because he could get 3 times more rent than what I was paying. I’ve lived here for 23 years. How long have you lived here?

  14. The vacancy rate is 1% because approx 10,000 new workers have moved into the city because more companies have make San Francisco their headquarters and there are all kinds of startups here too. I host a guy who flies in every week from Seattle, WA for 3 days to work for a startup. There is a 1% vacancy rate because the demand for housing cannot be met by the supply. When the economy tanked just a few years ago, alot of workers left San Francisco and development slowed down. Now that it’s boom time for companies, they are hiring again and so the population has increased, not just in San Francisco but all over the Bay Area. It is estimated that the Bay Area population has grown by 100,000.

  15. You are misinformed. The SF Chronicle’s data is wrong. Do you realize that when you do a search for an entire place in San Francisco using Airbnb, it includes places in the entire Bay Area?

  16. Airbnb has been silent on this to homesharers. But we can read the initiative. And the initiative includes private right of action. So you can sue ALL your neighbors with no risk or disincentive. If this god-awful initiative passes, I’ll be sure to report every neighbor I dislike so I can get their money if anyone is in violation.

  17. jhayes362…I have one condo with two bedrooms. I don’t own anything else. I rent the spare bedroom when my out of town partner is not using it for himself or for his friends and relatives. I am a member of home sharers. Homesharers is a non-profit group. We initially organized to help tell our stories to the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisor meeting at City Hall when there was no legislation allowing for short term renting. We wanted short term renting to become legal. It has become legal because of our efforts. Now the Ballot Initiative is try to take away everything that we have worked for. If it passes, it’s not going to hurt Airbnb but it will hurt the individual hosts who are trying to afford to continue to live in this costly city.

  18. GarySDBCN…why do you insist of poo-pooing everyone who does short term renting and gives their reasons? Airbnb never engaged in couch-surfing. Where are you getting your information from. I rent a room in my home to meet expenses. Are you calling me a liar?

  19. Trademark Dave. Don’t be so naive. Every politician gets donations from companies. Remember, it was the Supreme Court that ruled that a corporation was a person also, not just an entity. You think politicians who run campaigns to get elected and re-elected have their own money to meet campaign expenses. Where would they get their money from? You and me? Have you ever contributed to a politician’s campaign. I have…Barack Obama’s. But trust me, even Barack Obama got most of his campaign money from Corporations and PACs.

  20. Yes, I agree on some of your points. Alot of people lost money when the economy tanked because banks and investment companies were selling bad mortgages as securities. These big corporate banks and investment companies should be held accountable. But this paradigm does not apply to people like me who are just renting a room in my home to make ends meet. If the Ballot Initiative passed, and I am limited to 75 days a year, I won’t be able to make ends meet. The same with alot of hosts who are fixed incomes or sending their kids to college, etc.. The current legislation can work, if you give it time, and as the Planning Dept gets more organized and competent in going after the bad players,…the people who should not be doing short-term renting. The Ballot Initiative will hurt alot of San Francisco residents. You’re hurting real people because you are so focused on bring down a company. Airbnb is not the only company bring hosts and short term guests together. Get it?

  21. Ethan,
    Actually some tourist do. For example, I have an older couple from Michigan. They have a daughter here in San Francisco who has a family and they want to visit her and spend time with their grand children. They are on a fixed income and cannot afford the prices that hotels are charging. Their daughter does not have room for them either. They come about twice a year and I charge them a fraction of what hotels charge. They are grateful and I am happy I can help them out in some way. The money I make goes towards paying my mortgage, property taxes, assessments, repairs, other expenses…etc. You don’t have to believe me but alot of hosts I know do this sort of thing. We are helping others while we help ourselves.

  22. Bruce…I am a registered short-term renter to and oppose the Ballot Initiative so I am on your side too. But can I ask you, please, to stop this name calling and bickering. You are stooping to levels of those that are ignorant and have no imagination.

  23. Get real, folderpete! Alot of us who do short-term renting are trying to make ends meet. I finally own the condo that I rented for 19 years under a horrible landlord who tried to evict me for multiple different reasons, all of them bogus. This bickering is not getting us anywhere. There are people who live in San Francisco, which is very expensive, and need some extra income. All legit host who are renting a room or home short term are mostly doing it to make some extra money because they are either on a fixed income (elderly, disabled, unemployed). If there are hosts who are not in these situations want to rent a room to make some extra money to cover a vacation or to save to buy a car, what is immoral about that? Most (and I acknowledge that there are some players out there. Trust me I want the Planning Dept or District Attorney to shut them down too!) of us just want to make some extra money. We are not taking away housing from long term renters because these rooms or apartments will never be available for long term renters. I do not want a long term renter. Even if I wanted one, I couldn’t because I have an out of town partner who came in with me to buy my condo and that extra room is his when he comes into town or if he wants it for his friends or relatives who come to visit San Francisco. There are various scenarios which don’t allow for some of us to have long term renters. Just stretch your imagination and don’t just lump us into one box. Doing that would be unfair.

  24. I do agree that there are bad players out there renting whole units that they don’t even reside in. Corporate Rentals usually go through Real Estate agencies. Has anyone gone after the Real Agencies who handle Corporate Rentals? Has anyone gone after VRBO, Flipkey, Homeaway which are platforms listing only whole units such as condos, flats, apartments and whole houses?

  25. If San Francisco officials want data from Airbnb all they have to do is get a subpoena, just like New York did, and Airbnb would have to comply or provide legit reasons why they won’t do it.

  26. Let’s stick to San Francisco. New York has their own set of regulations for short term renting. In fact, New York is more progressive than San Francisco as they have been allowing short term renting as long as the host is present at the time there is a renter living in the same unit. New York, though, does not allow unhosted Short term renting. In any case, we don’t need to get riled up about what is happening in other cities. I live in San Francisco and do short term renting in San Francisco just renting a room in my condo when my partner’s room is not used by friend’s and family visiting. I don’t see the harm in that. It helps me pay my mortgage, my property taxes, my condo dues, any assessments, replacing broken appliances and do some other repairs and maybe if I have some left over money go out to dinner once in a while. Would you deprive me, a single working female who has living in San Francisco for 23 years this opportunity to make abit of extra money to cover my expenses?

  27. Hi JHayes362….do you realize that it took 4 months for the Planning Dept to issue me a permit after I submitted my application? Do you also realize that the Planning Dept has no ad campaign to inform SF residents that if they do Short Term Renting the steps that have to be taken to get legal? I was using two different platforms to get short term guests at one time _ Airbnb and Wimdu. I have since dropped Wimdu. They didn’t get me any short term renters anyway…just a couple of inquiries, that’s all. Just so “you people” realize that Airbnb is the ONLY company that is informing and educating their hosts as to what to do to be compliant with the new STR regulations. The Planning Dept has to be innovative and forward thinking to come up with a better way to get host registered and issued with permits. I know alot of friends who have submitted applications months ago and are still waiting to hear from the Planning Dept. You call and call and noone can tell you why your permit is being delayed. So “you people” need to be better informed and not believe everything you’ve been fed by the opposition.

  28. Oh please, Planning said they couldn’t enforce the rules as written. Other jurisdictions have sued and won getting AirBnB’s data.

    As you are echoing talking points, I’m guessing that you are a company shill.

    End of conversation.

  29. It is short-term hosts that have to comply with the rules and regulations. Airbnb is a website to connect hosts and guests just like VRBO, Homeaway, Flipkey, Craigslist, and a dozen other website companies that do the same. Why are “you guys” focusing on just Airbnb??? It is the responsibility of the SF Planning Dept to enforce the rules and regulations, not companies.

  30. Yes I do.. If I use Airbnb, Airbnb automatically collects the TOT and remits it to SF Treasury. However, should I decide to use another hosting platform, I have a Business License from SF Treasury and can remit the TOT on my own. In addition I claim any income from Short Term Renting on both my CA State and Federal Taxes. By the way, the TOT does not just apply to tourists. It applies to anybody renting one’s room or home less than 30 days. If a renter stays more than 30 days, then there is no TOT to collect, even if that renter is a tourist. By the way, Airbnb is the only company who automatically collects the TOT and pays SF Treasurer. They are the ONLY company working with the politicians to comply with the TOT and they encourage all hosts using their platform to register and get a permit. For a short time I also used another platform and that company never communicated to me about TOT or Permits requirements, etc…

  31. Tell me how is it fair for us homesharers who have followed all the rules and regulations up to this minute being grouped into this law with all the bad apples and asked only that we share 75 days a year? A year is 365 days, If i meet you half way for a cap, I would say 182.5 days is fair not 75 days. The City STR office has just set up shop and it is up to them on how to deal with the bad apples. Do we as homesharers have all the answers? No. But we definitely should not be grouped in as a whole. That is just not fair and plain bad here in SF. At least have legislation that is fair and reasonable. Everything in this bill (both sides know) will kill homesharing and force people to go one way or another.

  32. Renting out a spare room in my single family house does not deplete housing stock. It helps me maintain the property and pay my taxes and continue to live here. There is no way I could continue to live here working in retail if I could not rent out my spare room.

  33. Sorry Gary. Airbnb already did this in their pitch to the Chronicle. They could turn over their data but I’m not sure I would believe it, given their record so far. Airbnb prefers to operate in secrecy and the right-wingers on the Board of Supervisors and in the mayor’s office let them get away with it. Under the existing law, there is no accountability.

  34. CSF, isn’t “snitching” part of the mayor’s enforcement program, such as it is? And when only a fraction of the units on the sharing market are registered, how is the city going to “weed out” the bad ones? And how is the ballot initiative going to shut down all homesharers? Just what BS is Airbnb feeding you people for this astroturf campaign?

  35. So Phil, how many how many host residences do you have? Are they registered with the city and do you pay the appropriate city taxes?

    My wife and I have considered hosting a room in our house on Airbnb. We don’t feel threatened at all by any of the provisions in the ballot measure and consider the Chiu legislation woefully inadequate.

    Not sure what’s driving the hysteria here, but the fact that you say “home sharers have been forced to organize” tells me lot. Usually that means that there are big dollars at stake.

  36. I don’t know why you’re so hung up on Airbnb. There is VRBO, Homeway, FlipKey, craigslist. Many sites to list on. These sites can’t or won’t release their private data and even if the initiative passes, that provision will be challenged in court and probably be thrown out (there is precedence for this). Believe it or not, it is not that hard to track down the bad actors. They already know who they are, without getting any private data from Airbnb.

    Meanwhile, in your hatred of Airbnb, you’re willing to throw a lot of responsible hosts under the bus. Gee, thanks.

  37. Sorry to burst your bubble but us hosts are real people, real citizens who are acting in our own interest. Home sharers have been forced to organize to combat the lies and misinformation put out by Campos and ShareBetterSF.

  38. It is a small percentage of host but they account for a high percentage of the revenue. If AirBnB wasn’t such a dick about everything, this could have been settled long ago.

    As for 16 people being identified, based upon what data? AirBnB needs to hand over all their data. That may sway me to not vote for restrictions in the fall elections.

  39. If we were not “in this housing crisis” “over the years”, then those years you must be referring to are the Republican years of Mayor Christopher. I’ve been here since CREEP, and housing has never been cheap for the poor, and efforts at rent control began in the mid-70s.

    If you read the “whereas” of the (temporary) Rent Stabilization Ordinance passed in ’79, it talks about a “housing crisis”.

    Surely you jest.

  40. That’s my point. A very small percentage of hosts are abusing the system in this way. In SF, there have been about 16 people identified as doing this. These bad actors are making the rest of us hosts look bad. In SF, these people are operating illegally under the STR ordinance and hopefully will be shut down soon (the planning dept. knows who they are). We don’t need any new laws to control this activity. The ballot initiative takes a sledgehammer approach and will have the effect of wiping out homesharing, harming a lot of people who need the income and are not causing any problems.

  41. Many of these posts have the tone of an astroturf campaign waged by Airbnb.

    They continue the fiction that the hosting is done only by homeowners and renters sharing a room to make ends meet. They continue the fiction that the Chiu law is working when only a small percentage of the estimated units have registered with the city as required under the law. Some of them even assert that the ballot measure is an attempt to shut down all hosting services.

    They make no mention of Airbnb’s refusal to provide data to the city to prove its assertions or to refuse to provide its services to those who don’t register, thereby undermining the law.

    Ed Lee’s recent enforcement efforts are an election-year fig leaf that will fail because the Chiu law has no teeth to force cooperation from Airbnb.

  42. Craigslist, HomeAway, etc. are next on the agenda. You want to run a STR or any other type of business in San Francisco, you better play by the rules, Bruce/Sam.

  43. Ok you are really reaching. How long have you been smoking weed? Time to back away. I am over 50 and lived here in SF most of my life I CAN remember even in the 90s before the dot com bubble it was bad. And then again about another 6 years later.

    Have fun with your weed!

  44. A few bad actors? “The top five New York Airbnb hosts by number of listings rented out 80, 35, 31, 29 and 28, units on Airbnb, the attorney general’s office found. Almost half of Airbnb’s $1.45 million in 2010 revenue in New York City came not from grandmas renting out spare rooms, but Airbnb entrepreneurs who had more than three listings on the site.”


  45. Many hosts who do STR are just as concerned as you or anyone else is about the eviction crisis in this city. But unlike you, we don’t waste time scapegoating one company or what might be a tiny part of the problem. Can you point to a single person that Airbnb evicted? Airbnb is not in the real estate or renting business. They are one (of many) online listing services that bring together hosts and guests. That’s it! It is property owners/landlords/real estate speculators that are evicting people and that is the problem. Not what they decide to do with the property after they illegally evict. Why housing advocates don’t concentrate their energy where the real problem lies just shows how much fear, confusion and misinformation is out there, and is really a diversion from the real problems facing this city. The truth is that Airbnb has given STR hosts like me a tool to be able to afford to remain in the city. Yes, there are a few bad actors, and the STR ordinance is designed to address those situations while still allowing us to continue the activity in a way that does not contribute to the housing crisis.

  46. I am not rationalizing but giving you real things as a host. I don’t fit into your clever law here, which is why hosts like me are being active on it.

  47. Not aimed at? Seriously? You don’t even know what is in it then. It effects all home sharing and groups everyone together and limits them to 75 day cap (but let’s get serious it forces us to do LTR. Let’s not sugar coat the agenda here. )

  48. Look, it’s possible that you are not one of the people these rules are aimed t. If so, they won’t affect you. In any case, it is clear that you are not arguing for principle, but for your own self interests. Which is fine, but why did you take so long to say so? Don’t you think that’s a little dishonest?
    Just stop with the rationalisations and talk about what you are doing and why you feel you need to do it, and folks may have a little more sympathy to you and your point of view.

  49. Actualy, they don’t. Not like residents do. You really don’t think residents need should be prioritized above those of tourists? I get that tourists bring money into the city, but this does not help people who are forced to move OUT of the city.You can’t compare somebodies vacation to somebodies life.

  50. If it happened in New York, you know it is happening here. New York is much bigger and has much more housing in general.

  51. They don’t evan pay taxes. I always heard that nobody can mess with the IRS, but they can. I geass in this city, they really are above the law.

  52. Where was your fake outrage over craigslist over the years? Housing has always been an issue in SF.

  53. Uh i evicted no one. I bought a home with a spare bedroom that family comes to visit from time to time so I need flexibility. Do you not understand basic logic here? Homesharing works for us because of this.

  54. And why didn’t you “help” by giving up your apt for that “little old lady” (was she poor, or maybe not so poor?)

  55. By your definition, the only people who ‘help’ are the ones to do it for free. So, not nurses, not clergy, not handipersons, not musicians, and certainly not politicians!

    I would define it as a transaction where concerns other that strictly money were involved, and those concerns addressed issues of benefit to the person involved.

    Even a Pacifist kills microbes just by existing.

  56. Evicting a little old lady so you can illegally rent to tourists in order to make more money is ‘helping’ just like a heart surgeon saving a life. Got it.

  57. Such an idiotic response….yes just screw that Intern at Genentech then. 20 bucks an hour and a hotel rate average room rate is $207 per night. Please tell her where you would like her to stay. Screw you.

  58. Exactly….let’s say that you have a heart condition and a surgeon fixes it. He/She didn’t help you at all, it was just a financial transaction.

  59. My point is in response to your delusion that you are ‘helping people’ by renting to them. No, you are entering into a financial contract and benefiting from it. Unless you think the restaurant is ‘helping’ you by serving you dinner that you pay for.

  60. Pulease…..since when don’t other people make money – massuers, personal chefs / caterers, etc….Get over your entitlement issues.

  61. That is fine….but you gotta realize people do homesharing because they need the flexibility for family life. So not everyone fits into your convenient argument. And STR visitors also need the opportunity to visit the city as well.

  62. Funny thing is that while it seems like I want to end AirBnB, I don’t. I have long advocated for regulations and rules, including an AirBnB 800 number for neighbors to call to complain when a neighbor rents to someone who causes a nuisance (this happened in my building, with multiple police units responding to complaints – not from me – and the neighbor who rented was horrified). The police evicted the renters, who were young kids from France. But that didn’t clean the vomit from the walls, the litter, etc.

    I also don’t think that you can start a business in a residential building without agreement of all residents. Security issues, etc. I would make exceptions for those who just rent rooms and are present.

    My objection to the existing legislation is that AirBnB should be compelled to provide the data. This ‘self-report’ and ‘trust-us’ approach is nonsense and isn’t being allowed elsewhere.

  63. Aha! I was wondering when the hotel industry would start stepping in. Clearly, they’re trying to do it quietly.

    (And yes, you know Tim will make it his job to step around that and help them.)

  64. What does that have to do with the price of tea in China? We are clearly many tens of thousands of market rate units away from having vacancies.

  65. Airbnb has been collecting and remitting taxes since last October. Not sure about the other services.

  66. If you are making a profit, you aren’t ‘helping’. It is a business transaction. Get over yourself.

  67. That study has a lot of problems. Many of those are “whole units” are cottages, in-laws, or just rooms with separate entrances. Airbnb’s listings only go: entire unit, private room, shared room. And even many of those are only available part-time. So of those 3,000, only a fraction are actual full-time rentals. Which are now illegal under the current law and can’t be registered. Airbnb needs to get better at enforcement, but don’t believe everything you see in numerical form.

  68. Of course. But I’m more concerned about the displacement of long-time residents and businesses in San Francisco, hence my issues with AirBnB.

  69. I am sure you are equally outraged by other huge corporations and posting your distaste for their lack of paying of taxes – right? The banks? The oil companies? The sports teams? Oh but that doesn’t fit into your anti airbnb diatribe. I forgot. Shhhhhh

  70. thanks for passing judgement. Wow…..”morally rehensible” there are reasons that people do get evicted. Where are you facts specifically pointing that it is STR driven?

  71. P.S. And, btw, I am not taking a long-term rental space off of the market. I live in my own home, and am utilizing a room that would otherwise not be occupied by someone full-time as I need the flexibility of it being available for my friends and family who visit me. This is a similar situation for many hosts (empty nesters, young families, etc…).

  72. It is shameful calling someone names without knowing the other side. Tourists need affordable places to come to as well.

  73. Nothing bring disgusting about it. If I am a homeowner and have an extra room we can rent to whomever. We just choose to do STR as we need flexibility for when family comes to town.

    We have also hosted an intern whom makes 20 bucks an hour. Where would you like her to stay? She can’t afford s hotel.

    Another example, we hosted a relocation from Austin Tx. The person had a dog. We managed to help her out.

    Both were cases where our place was affordable to them.

  74. Gary, I appreciate your giving me the benefit of the doubt. We hosts who are following the rules definitely want to eliminate those who are not. That is why we believe that the existing legislation should be allowed to continue as is; it will indeed weed out the ‘reprehensible’ landlords who are taking advantage of the situation.

    Also, you should know that we individual hosts had been requesting for many months (years?) that Airbnb address the issues that it finally did, i.e. the TOT tax situation. We don’t want to be scapegoated for something that we did not have control over. And believe me, I’m not buying anyone’s vote. I’m just trying to keep afloat myself!

    We mom & pop types just hope that the baby (us) isn’t being thrown out with the bathwater (i.e. the Ballot initiative, which would be so onerous as to shut down all of the homesharers. Not to mention allow for some scary issues with regards to “private right to action” and creating a City where neighbors are “snitching” on each other, and suing neighbors with relish and little restraint).

  75. Thanks for exposing your despicable ideology. Long-term residents are being evicted for illegal STR. You are disgusting.

    If you don’t want to be stuck with a long term rental, don’t buy rental units. You can’t open a gas station in a laundromat.

  76. No you are not being honest that people should not be forced into renting to LTR if they do not want to.

  77. You realize that a lot of the ‘scapegoating’ is due to AirBnB’s refusal to comply with rules and regulations until forced to do so, right? And now the scapegoating has more to do with the way AirBnB investors seem to be buying votes.

    I ask you too to realize that not all STR are mom-and-pop rentals, and even 1 is too many, And given that long-time residents have been evicted so landlords can convert to STR for tourist dollars is against the law and morally reprehensible.

    I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that you too are against that.

  78. Seriously as a host i get a 1099 – So the answer is yes and it is reported to the government. Thanks for asking all these old questions that generate fear about homesharing. I am glad I can answer all of them.

  79. I, too, am a homeowner who has a guest room in my primary residence which I rent out to short-term guests. My income is reported to the IRS as 1099 income. The TOT taxes are being remitted to the SF City Treasurer. I am still using the space for a residential purpose. My neighbors are aware of what I do, and have had not a single problem with my doing it. Oh, and btw, I am registered with the City, have paid for a both a business license and to be a STR host. I am abiding by the existing rules of the new legislation that was enacted on February 1st. Many of us hosts are already registered or are in the process of getting the necessary permit now required. The new legislation will naturally weed out the “bad actors” as it was designed to do, if it is allowed to continue as currently outlined.

    The seemingly never-ending scapegoating, painting every single STR host, regardless of the situation (and there are many different scenarios) with the same paintbrush as law-breaking scofflaws is erroneous, spiteful and — quite honestly — the worst kind of “dishonest” yellow journalism. My recommendation would be to actually understand all of the complicated angles to the issue before spouting off negative statements that may do more harm than good to many who are relying upon this extra income to make ends meet. We also are a benefit to our neighbors and neighborhoods by providing much needed extra housing for many who are in need of it for visiting family, etc…and bringing extra patronage to our nearby small businesses (and more sales taxes paid to the City’s coffers).

  80. I’m not shilling for one side and gee – it’s me against a $28 billion company? Go get a sense of perspective.

    I get it. Some families are help by this. But if we are in this supposed housing crisis, even a handful of units taken off the market is harmful and it looks like we are talking about 3,000 units.
    But if you can’t see any downside to AirBnB rentals you are not being honest.

  81. Nonsense. “Although the company refuses to release numbers, a data analysis commissioned by The Chronicle found almost 5,000 San Francisco homes, apartments, and private or shared rooms for rent via Airbnb. Two-thirds were entire houses or apartments, showing how far Airbnb has come from its couch-surfer origins, and contradicting its portrayal as a service for people who rent out a spare room and interact with guests.”

    Almost 3,000 of the almost 5,000 units rented are entire homes or apartments.


  82. I will lecture you since you seem to be shilling for only one side of the picture and not fighting fairly. Hello.

  83. Airbnb settled the tax issue with back taxes. AND the platform now charges taxes since October of 2014. NEXT Issue! This is getting old….

  84. Don’t lecture me. San Francisco doesn’t have the data the NY was able to easily get from AirBnB as our politicians receive huge direct and indirect contributions from AirBnB investors and are unwilling to even ask for that same data.

  85. Because the hotel lobby committee would be revealed. SHHHHHHHH – we don’t talk about that here.

  86. But we are talking san francisco as this is a san francisco issue here on the ballot. So lets please not construe other city’s arguments with SF. That is not fair and only biased. IMHO.

  87. The vast majority of listings on the STR services are people renting out spare rooms. Just go look. I rent out a spare room to afford raising a family and caring for an aging parent in SF. Airbnb in particular has made SF affordable for my family. I comply with all the laws, and my neighbors’ visitors are some of my most loyal renters.

    The hosts who are turning out in support of short term rentals are not Astroturf or “paid trolls.” We are human beings.

  88. “So now there’s no doubt that this measure will be part of the fall referendum on the Lee Administration’s policies and will put into sharp focus the role of big tech money in setting the city’s policies.” Join the social equity advocates and culture-makers who have taken a stand for the future of San Francisco by challenging Ed Lee in the 2015 Mayor’s race. Use ranked-choice voting the way it was intended and vote 1-2-3 to replace Lee. I am an official candidate for Mayor and I am doing everything I can to be your proxy to debate Ed Lee about the policies that will shape San Francisco and the Bay Area for decades to come. Please take and share this survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/sf2015mayoraldebates

    Let Ed eat cake! Watch me put a San Francisco twist on a so-called “cakewalk” election for Ed Lee: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZupQIjt6mMs

  89. Ok, so you are against people renting out a room they have available in their home they live in and every other instance of airbnb? Realistically, the only units that concern me are ones where a unit is taken off the rental market long term of which they prove 160. I chose 350 from the link below. As an app for helping people make their mortgage payment or rent out a home between tenants, it seems like something that is pretty neutral or slightly positively beneficial. If the mere existence of airbnb as a company annoys you, we are past pragmatic discussion and into reactionary politics.

    And even a few thousand are less than 1% of the housing stock, which we need to increase by about 30%…


  90. “It’s really about whether a $25 billion company can set the rules for housing in San Francisco. And whether the politicians that company is supporting can be held accountable.”

    Or maybe it’s about whether you want to live in a command economy where we keep using the local government to crush development and property owners. I mean, I am a liberal, but wtf are we talking about here? 350 units? This isn’t talking about a solution, it’s scapegoating. Full stop.

  91. Are you paying taxes on the income you get from renting your room? If you are renting to tourists, are you paying the ‘tourist tax’ ?

  92. He can’t.

    At least $75K has come from Unite Here, the hotel worker’s union.

    In fairness to Tim, his job is to paint the issue as a grass roots citizen’s movement against the evil Airbnb. The concept of traditional hotel workers fighting off Airbnb doesn’t have the same resonance, hence the need to report only one side of the funding story.

  93. I am a short term renter and I personally benefit from being able to continue renting my extra bedroom short term in order to pay my mortgage, over $8000 a year in property taxes, the rising condo dues and any assessments, as well as replace aging appliances that are over 25 years old when they break down. So just because Scott Weiner and the Mayor are receiving contributions from Airbnb does make the backers of the Ballot Initiative against Short Term hosts more noble. Had you been less biased you would have also noted who is funding the Ballot Initiative and the opposition. The Ballot Initiative against short term renting will substantially hurt San Francisco residents who need the extra income to continue living in San Francisco. There are thousands of us who need the extra income – parents sending kids to college, seniors who are on a fixed income, people with high medical bills, residents who are suffering from one ailment or another and cannot work. Even those who work cannot afford the high cost of continuing to living in San Francisco. Be less biased when you write something like this and see both sides.

  94. >”Conway is the mayor’s best bud, and is in the room at most of his key policy discussions”

    Does anyone know if there is any truth behind this?

    It doesn’t seem likely that (A) Conway would want to be in the room (B) would need to be in the room and (C) would not try to avoid the negative perception of being openly involved in policy discussions.

    I don’t doubt that Conway has appeared in some ‘forums’ or ‘workshops’ but is he really in the room at MOST of Lee’s key policy discussions?

  95. Good read in the Guardian UK about the sharing economy: “As Silicon Valley guru Peter Thiel has demonstrated, the goal of tech firms is not to compete – it is to so monopolise a sector that they basically become synonymous with it. . . . As allegedly “innovative” firms increasingly influence our economy and culture, they must be held accountable for the power they exercise. Otherwise, corporate nullification will further entrench a two-tier system of justice, where individuals and small firms abide by one set of laws, and mega-firms create their own regime of privilege for themselves and power over others.”


    The November election isn’t about housing. It is whether or not we accept the oligarchy the pretends to be democracy.

  96. Let me correct Julie Carrie Wong’s first sentence: “Both Airbnb and the politicians who support it who receive direct and indirect financial compensation from AirBnB investors, are quick to point out that the “Airbnb law” sponsored by David Chiu and passed by the Board of Supervisors last year isn’t just about Airbnb, but all short-term rental platforms.

  97. The Supreme Court has called a cities General Plan “The constitution of the city for future development”. The Housing Element is a required element of the General Plan. In SF it says: POLICY 2.6

    “Ensure housing supply is not converted to de facto

    commercial use through short-term rentals. ”

    “The City should protect the permanent

    housing stock from de facto conversion to commercial use

    through short-term rentals.”

    On March 23rd all the BOS except Farrell approved this document and sent to the state for certification. These new AirBnB laws that the BOS are passing are inconsistent with the cities approved General Plan. I don’t know why someone doesn’t sue. These guys just do whatever they want to do–as long as there is some money coming their way.

  98. “It’s really about whether a $25 billion company can set the rules for
    housing in San Francisco. And whether the politicians that company is
    supporting can be held accountable.” SO fucking nails it. Let the #paidtrollwhining begin!

  99. AirBnLee — why not just come out and sell the naming rights to the Mayor to the highest bidder?

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