Vacation Rentals: News RoundUp
The Planning Commission will be discussing Vacation Rentals on March 18, 2015!
SF’s New Vacation Rental Law Making Everyone Unhappy
“Residents were previously restricted from renting out their homes for periods of less than 30 days, according to a law that the city said protected housing rates and helped to regulate property rentals. The new law allows residents who live in the city for a minimum of nine months of the year to rent out rooms or residences for short stays for up to 90 days of business per year….
The legislation, he said, was “easily subvertible” and encourages homeowners to try to find a way around the restrictions. “A person has to declare that it’s their permanent residence, and anyone can say that about any place [and] this invites people to do all sort of things and then say ‘come catch me,’” he told SFGate.”
SF Already Discussing Changes; Can Law Be Enforced?
“But high-ranking city planning officials said there are loopholes in the current law that no amount of resources could fix. ”
“The department said that without cooperation from the host platforms, it can’t enforce the requirement that there be 90 days of unhosted stays — those where the resident is not at the rented unit — when there is no cap on hosted stays. There has also been concern about the low number of short-term hosts who have taken steps to register under the law. Sixty residents successfully applied and received registration numbers, which are required to be included in the host’s listings on websites like Airbnb. But there are an estimated thousands of other listings that remain illegal.
Sanchez said the department is “frustrated” that hundreds turned out to support the law’s adoption but there hasn’t been the same turnout to comply with it.”
SF City Attorney Sues Two Landlords
“Illegal short-term rental conversions of our scarce residential housing stock” are contributing to “a housing crisis of historic proportions,” Herrera said in a statement.
To illustrate, the suits cited the proliferation of short-term vacation rentals in San Francisco advertised on popular websites: 6,225 on Airbnb, 1,413 on VRBO and 1,351 on HomeAway, VRBO’s parent company.”
SF Tenant Advocates Sue Two Vacation Rental Firms
“The legal action comes a day after The City’s Short-Term Residential Rental Ordinance legalizing home rentals for periods of less than 30 days went into effect. Hooshmand said the new legislation allowing property owners or tenants to rent space short-term if they meet specific criteria will not rectify the various allegations against VRBO and HomeAway.
The new legislation, according to the Committee’s Executive Director Sara Shortt, does not include a strong enforcement mechanism and “actually gives us all the more resolve to put the brakes – in this case through litigation – because the new rules are not going to adequately protect tenants from displacement due to the short-term rentals industry.”
SF Sued by HomeAway – New Law Too Strict
“The lawsuit filed Monday by HomeAway says the law stymies competition and discriminates against both vacation hosts by requiring them to be city residents and vacation-website companies by mandating they collect the city’s 14 percent hotel taxes….”
Even Senator Diane Feinstein Opposes SF Law
“This is a shortsighted action that would destroy the integrity of zoning throughout San Francisco, allowing commercial and hotel use in residential areas throughout the city.”
SF’s Current Vacation Rental Law – Overview
San Diego Begins Revision of Codes for Vacation Rentals
“In San Diego, the regulations that come closest to encompassing short-term rentals are those governing bed-and-breakfasts where residents are renting out one or more rooms in a house in which they are living. In those cases, special permits are needed that require owners to notify surrounding neighbors.”
New York State Bans Most Short-Term Rentals
“The short of it, is that unless the Landlord owns the entire building, it is illegal to rent or sublet a co-op, condo or apartment for stays less than 30 days. In 2010, the NY State Governor passed a bill and NYC plans to crack down on this law.”
NY City Council Considers Innovative Enforcement
“(Short-term renters) are coming in at all hours, bringing people they meet into the apartment and it’s then impacting the quality of life, in that there are strangers in their building,” Mendez said. “It’s a breach of peace and quiet in your home because of the noise and people traffic.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo, Schneiderman and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the launch of a joint enforcement task force last week called the Tenant Harassment Prevention Task Force that will investigate and bring enforcement actions against landlords who harass tenants. Under Lancman and Mendez’s tenant harassment bill, illegal hotel conversions would be included in that definition of harassment. It would fall under the jurisdiction of the task force and would be subject to its investigations and enforcement actions.”
NY City Council Discusses Enforcement, Housing Crisis
“At the hearing on Tuesday, which focused on Airbnb, members of the City Council took turns fuming over what they called a reckless enterprise that put neighborhoods in jeopardy and sapped an already-weak affordable housing market. Speaking before a crowd of hundreds who waved placards reading “My Home Is Not a Hotel,” they variously compared Airbnb to a “marauding army” and an “epidemic.”
“No one should have to live in a building or next to someone where the apartment is being used as an illegal hotel, people coming and going, traipsing in and out, no idea who they are,” Councilman Corey Johnson, a Democrat from Manhattan, said.
The hearing, which focused on how the city enforced a state law barring people from renting an apartment for under 30 days unless the apartment’s resident also stays there, grew into a wide-ranging face-off between two groups of city residents who each said they were being battered by the growing cost of housing.”
Guardian Summary of the Debate on Vacation Rentals
“While the heat is on in Barcelona – where Airbnb have just been fined €30,000 for breaching local tourism laws – the company is also under attack in a growing number of other cities. In New York it is currently in the midst of a prolonged legal dispute with the attorney general, while authorities in San Francisco, New Orleans, Malibu and other US cities are also mounting crackdowns. In Berlin – where Airbnb has been partly blamed for increasing rents – city officials have created a new housing law banning regular short-term letting of rooms without permission from the authorities, something that could have a big impact on the number of Airbnb hosts in the city.”
Spain Makes Nationwide Law
“In the UK you could not rent your home out as a furnished holiday let without meeting set standards in safety and cleanliness, and declaring your earnings to the tax man. And this is essentially what the new law in Spain sets out to do.”
Barcelona Suspends New Licenses
“…the rights of local residents were being undermined and community life was suffering, due to the volumes of tourist apartments springing up in local neighbourhoods.”
Paris Actually Enforces Vacation Rental Laws
“As in New York and Barcelona, officials in the French capital say companies such as Airbnb Inc. have spawned a cottage industry of scofflaw landlords who are cheating citizens out of housing and depriving localities of much-needed revenue from the growth in international travel.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has a 20-person team making unannounced visits to apartments whose owners are suspected of, or turned in by nosy neighbors for, unlawfully renting to visitors.”