On July 6, the San Francisco Department of Elections received 15,983 signatures in a petition to add a November ballot measure that would help eliminate illegal short-term rental properties in the city.
The heated debate has Airbnb spearheading the side of short-term and vacation rentals as advocacy groups and organizations are aiming to give locals “protection from the harmful effects of Airbnb rentals.”
The petition has 11 organizations and community groups behind it, which is lead by Share Better SF. The organization, co-founded by Dale Carlson, is “loosely” affiliated with the Share Better coalition that recently released an ad slamming Airbnb, he said.
Officials with the organization say they are not looking to limit people who are legally using the services, but the intended regulations are increasingly strict. Limitations include cutting down the number of nights a property can be rented out from 90 nights to 75 nights.
Other guidelines include making a landlord aware of any registered short-term rentals and strict enforcement for hosting platforms, which must list only legal, registered units. Those renting their homes would also be required to alert other building tenants, neighbors and neighborhood associations.
Where the ballot measure gets particularly murky is “allowing other building tenants and neighbors to go to court to protect their rights to privacy and the quiet enjoyment of their homes,” according to Share Better SF’s press release. If this measure were to go into effect, any Airbnb host could run the potential risk of being taken to court.
Although the recent opening of the Office of Short Term Rental Administration and Enforcement is expected to aid in the regulation of these types of properties and make it easier for hosts to register, it’s expected to take a while to get all the 5,000 San Francisco listings official.
Many pro-Airbnb advocates believe this measure encourages spying on neighbors and can create an overall hostile community vibe.
Airbnb isn’t the only rental site listed on the measure. Other home-sharing services like VRBO and HomeAway are also named.
The initiative, given that it has more than the required 9,700 registered San Francisco voter signatures, will likely make it to the Nov. 3 ballot.
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