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The Almighty Buck Government

SF Evictions Surging From Crackdown On Airbnb Rentals 319

Posted by samzenpus
from the and-stay-out dept.
JoeyRox (2711699) writes "The city of San Francisco is aggressively enforcing its ban on short-term rentals. SF resident Jeffrey Katz recently came home to an eviction notice posted on his door that read 'You are illegally using the premises as a tourist or transient unit.' According to Edward Singer, an attorney with Zacks & Freedman who filed the notice against Katz, 'Using an apartment for short-term rentals is a crime in San Francisco.' Apparently Airbnb isn't being very helpful to residents facing eviction. 'Unfortunately, we can't provide individual legal assistance or review lease agreements for our 500,000 hosts, but we do try to help inform people about these issues,' according to David Hantman, Airbnb head of global public policy. SF and Airbnb are working on a framework which might make Airbnb rentals legal, an effort helped by Airbnb's decision last week to start collecting the city's 14% hotel tax by summer."
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SF Evictions Surging From Crackdown On Airbnb Rentals

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  • by donutman (966616) on Monday April 07, 2014 @04:58PM (#46687693)
    The city of SF is not enforcing anything - it's the landlords. In SF, most units are covered by rent control, meaning most people are paying rents far below the market value. Landlord are prohibited from increasing rents or kicking out current tenets unless they violate their lease. So any lease violation, such as subleasing, can be used as an excuse to evict the tenet and get one that will pay the current market value.
  • by JoeyRox (2711699) on Monday April 07, 2014 @05:05PM (#46687753)
    From the article:

    "People who rent out space on Airbnb, VRBO and other markets for temporary housing are facing fines by the City Planning Department and eviction on the grounds of illegally operating hotels."
  • by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Monday April 07, 2014 @05:10PM (#46687805)

    It's banned by the city even if your lease allows it. It's so the city can collect its special 14% hotel tax.

  • by noh8rz10 (2716597) on Monday April 07, 2014 @05:12PM (#46687821)

    the context here is that rental rates in SF have skyrocketed in recent years, and if landlords can evict long-time tenants they can get the unit on the market for 4x rent. This sounds like predatory landlord practices. Hopefully the city will step in to stop this process.

  • by DRJlaw (946416) on Monday April 07, 2014 @05:26PM (#46687967)

    There's a difference between:

    "People who rent out space on Airbnb, VRBO and other markets for temporary housing are facing fines by the City Planning Department and eviction on the grounds of illegally operating hotels."

    and

    "People who rent out space on Airbnb, VRBO and other markets for temporary housing are facing fines and eviction by the City Planning Department on the grounds of illegally operating hotels."

    Can you spot it?

    You should also read this article [sfaa.org] analyzing the issue from an owner's perspective. You'll note that it doesn't suggest that the San Francisco has the ability to evict the tenant... merely to fine the landlord.

    Finally, the actual code [archive.org] (warning: very large text document) lists several penalties, none of which include eviction. You're looking for Section 41A.5, "Unlawful Conversion," page 3902.

  • by Skynyrd (25155) on Monday April 07, 2014 @08:05PM (#46689591) Homepage

    I wish I could mod you up.
    As a landlord, I dislike rent control enough that I won't be a landlord in a rent controlled area.

    The city enforces how much the rent can go up, but can't enforce how much property taxes go up. The city won't cover my losses when rent goes down of course. It's a one way street. I keep my places clean, and things in good order. I make repairs, with a licensed contractor, quickly. I have given people a break on many occasions (late rent, giving young renters without a credit history a chance to *start* a rent & credit history, etc).

    My wife was a HUGE supporter of rent control, until we bought a house and she began to understand how much money it costs to keep a house in good condition, and how often the city or state raises some random tax on home owners.

  • Re:Hell no... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Monday April 07, 2014 @10:02PM (#46690197)

    The landlords have nothing to do with this. This is the city evicting people.

    Incorrect.

    The city is threatening landlords with fine for the activities of their renters. The landlords are evicting people, not the city.

    You should also read this article [sfaa.org] analyzing the issue from an owner's perspective. You'll note that it doesn't suggest that the San Francisco has the ability to evict the tenant... merely to fine the landlord.

    The landlords evict to avoid the fine, and also because the renter has clearly violated the rental agreement.

  • by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @08:49AM (#46692801) Journal
    No. People who sign long term leases are not allowed to the sub-lease said apartment as a "tourist or transient unit". That is actually a very common clause in lease contracts. I have little doubt that it is a relatively common law in many jurisdictions to, among other reasons, make prostitution harder.

    This isn't about not allowing people to "to engage in free enterprise without greasing some palms". It is about local laws and one agreed to when one signed a lease instead of purchasing one's own property.

    This may clear some things up for you:

    So why can tenants rerent their units to tourists at a higher rent than what they pay their landlords? Actually, they can’t. These tenants are violating a multitude of San Francisco ordinances, starting with rent control itself, which affords their own low rent protections. If the “host” tenant is renting out their room or unit at a daily rate that exceeds their own daily rental value, that tenant is violating the San Francisco Rent Ordinance, which states that a tenant cannot charge more rent to a subtenant than what the tenant is paying their landlord.

    Moreover, by offering their entire unit or room as a short-term rental (defined as a rental for less than 30 days), the tenant is also violating the San Francisco “Apartment Unit Conversion Ordinance.” That particular ordinance prohibits the rental of residential units to tourists or short-term transients without obtaining a special permit first. Violations of this ordinance has penalties, including fines of not more than $1,000 or by imprisonment in the county jail for a period of not more than six months, or by both.

    Depending on the neighborhood zoning designation, it is also likely the tenant is breaking zoning laws, which require that hotels in residentially zoned districts obtain a conditional use permit. It is also probable that your tenant or his “guests” are afoul of tax laws because, in 2012, the San Francisco City Treasurer office stated that short-term rentals were subject to the city’s transient occupancy tax (also known as the “hotel tax”). Lastly, assuming the tenant has signed an SFAA lease, they are in breach of the “no subletting” clause of their lease agreement. The most recent version of the SFAA lease is even more explicit, and specifically states in the section entitled “Use” that “No hotel use, such as daily rentals, shall be made.”

    Does that clear things up?

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