December 5, 2015
Housing in San Francisco is expensive, as most of us are aware. Add that to the fact that just being able to find housing can be difficult, and we come to the reason Prop F was even proposed in San Francisco. For those unaware of what implications Prop F held, it is basically a law that was proposed by a coalition of unions (mainly hotels), housing advocates, landowners, and neighborhood groups.
This ruling, had it gone into effect, would have completely changed how private short-term rentals worked, and essentially would have said that homeowners could only provide short term rentals for 75 days a year. In a city where websites like AirBnB and Homeaway play such a huge role in housing rentals, Prop F could have brought major changes to the city’s housing ordinances, and left companies like AirBnB scrambling to find a solution for San Francisco.
While there are definitely pros and cons to Prop F, there are a few things that can be gathered from why it is being shot down. AirBnB will continue to prosper. If the law had passed, AirBnB would be responsible for removing any listings that broke the 75 day ruling – a nearly impossible task for them. If properties were not in accordance with the law and stayed on their site, AirBnb would have been charged anywhere from $250 to $1000 per day, per listing that was not playing by the rules. This would have essentially killed AirBnB in San Francisco.
On a more personal front, had Prop F passed it would have basically encouraged neighbors to “spy” on one another to make sure everyone was in accordance with the law. If someone was not in accordance with Prop F, any neighbor would be able to sue that person, so just think of the tension that could bring to neighborhoods around the city.
On the other hand, short-term rentals have not helped housing prices in San Francisco and, had Prop F passed, changes and shifts would have made their way into the Golden Gate city. There are approximately 10,000 houses currently listed as “short-term rental properties”, which means 10,000 homes that would not be available to individuals and families looking to move to the city. This alone is bad enough but, as more homeowners realize they can make more money off of short term rentals, what incentive do they have to offer long term rentals for what are typically much lower rates?
With so many hands in the cookie jar, this probably isn’t the last time we will hear of something like Prop F being brought to the table. In fact, Prop F materialized not long after regulations made earlier in the year regarding short term rentals. Before trying to bring new laws into the picture, authorities first need to give the current laws time to work.
With hotels (and their unions) being affected by the power that is AirBnb, this will surely be brought to center stage again. It might not be in the next 6 months, or even the next year, but it is safe to say we have not heard the last of ideas behind Prop F.
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