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The latest news and announcements from Mayor London N. Breed

Mayor Lee & Supervisor Farrell Introduce Reforms to City’s Short-Term Rental Law

Mayor Edwin M. Lee and Supervisor Farrell introduced amendments to streamline and strengthen the City’s current short-term rentals law. The legislation, which will make the City’s current short-term rental law more enforceable and protect the City’s supply of rental housing for San Franciscans, is based on months of feedback and dialogue with homesharers, housing and tenant advocates, the private sector and city agencies, including the Planning Department.

“Many San Franciscans rent their homes on a short-term basis to earn extra income and get by in our City, but our current homesharing laws must be more clear and easier to enforce,” said Mayor Lee. “This legislation will help keep our City more affordable for homesharers, preserve rental housing for San Franciscans, protect neighborhood character and streamline permitting and enforcement under a fair set of regulations. I want to thank Assemblyman Chiu, Supervisor Farrell and other members of the Board for their leadership and work on these issues as we work together to strengthen our City’s innovative law to regulate homesharing and short-term rentals.”

“Our law governing short-term rentals should protect our City’s housing stock, streamline the short-term rental hosts’ registration process, and clarify elements of the law to ensure that it is fully enforceable,” said Supervisor Mark Farrell. “I believe the amendments we are introducing today accomplish all of those goals, and strike the right balance needed for short-term rentals to exist in San Francisco while continuing to protect the quality of life in our neighborhoods. With all eyes on San Francisco and how our innovative City continues to approach regulating short-term rentals – it is important that we get this law right. I look forward to the many discussions ahead with home sharers, our residents, interested parties, and my colleagues, that will make this law as strong as possible.”

The package of amendments that will be introduced by Supervisor Farrell and Mayor Lee at today’s Board of Supervisors meeting include:

•    A 120-day annual “hard cap” on the number of days a year that permanent residents can rent out their home or a portion of their home for under 30 days. Short-term rentals will continue to be prohibited for anyone who is not the permanent resident of a home or apartment in San Francisco.
•    Treating all short-term rental hosts equally by striking the current difference in the law between “hosted” and “un-hosted” short-term rentals.
•    The creation of the Office of Short-Term Rental Administration and Enforcement that will be staffed and resourced by the Planning Department, Department of Building Inspection, and the Treasurer/Tax Collector’s office.
•    This new office will provide a single-location for members of the public to apply for the City Registry and for City staff to coordinate in the administration and aggressive enforcement of the law.
•    If the City fails to enforce following complaints, and after a certain period has expired, a private right of action to sue for attorney’s fees and injunctive relief will be extended to residents of the building, neighbors within 100 feet, housing nonprofit organizations and neighborhood associations for hosts alleged to have violated the short-term rental laws.

The amendments introduced by Supervisor Farrell come on the heels of a hearing he hosted in March that focused on the Planning Department’s capabilities of enforcing the current short-term rentals law, and the financial resources necessary for effective enforcement.

Supervisor Farrell and Mayor Lee’s short-term rental legislation will be discussed at the Planning Commission on April 23rd, and is expected to be heard in the Land Use and Economic Development Committee as soon as the 30-day hold on the ordinance is lifted.