San Francisco Activists Seek Referendum for Airbnb Clampdown
A group of San Francisco residents are promoting a city ballot against the home-sharing service Airbnb, set to take place in November. They complain that its short-term rentals compromise the housing market by allowing individual renters to share their properties without notifying the owners.
The city ballot initiative — which requires 9,700 signatories by July 7 — is for the creation of a law that would require those with Airbnb rentals to register with the city, get their landlord’s permission, buy insurance, and collect taxes. This measure would also force Airbnb to encourage its clients to follow the rules and confirm they are actually doing it.
Former Planning Commissioner Doug Engmann says that with the measure, each neighborhood would be able to decide if and how to permit residents’ Airbnb rentals. Citizens who report any law violations executed by their neighbors would receive financial rewards.
On the other hand, Nick Papas, a spokesman for Airbnb, says “San Franciscans overwhelmingly believe you ought to be able to share the home in which you live,” as demonstrated in a poll made this month, where 68 percent of voters were in favor of short-term rentals.
If supporters of Airbnb regulation manage to make the November ballot, the legislation intended to legalize short-term rentals, created by Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, “will be put on hold until after the election.”