AirBnB is illegal in San Francisco,

Apr 16th, 2014, 07:39 AM
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Doug makes some good points. I thought AirBnB was originally supposed to be exactly what the name implied -- B&B meaning the hosts were there and renting a spare room. It has morphed into people renting out entire apartments short-term to others. Now renting a spare room is also probably illegal (under leases or city code), as you are running a business, but I don't think it would have become so popular or well-known if it had remained that way.

House sitters are employees or simply guests (if not paid), I don't really understand that question about how it leaves them. I have never heard of anyone making a house sitter pay them for staying there, but if so, I guess then it is the same thing, renting your place out.

I do expect home exchange is different because no money is changing hands, that's usually where regulations and laws step in, when people start running businesses, basically.

I haven't heard anything illegal about Couchsurfing, for example, where no money is supposed to exchange hands, as I understand it. They are fairly well-known now.
Christina is offline  
Apr 16th, 2014, 08:10 AM
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You have it right Christina, if no money changes hands there is no problem and if you have a legal B&B where you are resident while your guests are there, that too is OK.

Even if money changes hands, it can be legal in some cases. Many condominiums exist in popular vacation destinations where all the units are rented out and the owner only visits a few times a year perhaps. But they comply with all legal requirements.

Again, the issues have come about as a result of the EXPONENTIAL growth of Airbnb. Why that has happened, who knows, but it has. As a result, the Law of Unintended Consequences has come into play.

As I wrote, the original idea and intent of the founders of Airbnb was a way to rent a bed or find a bed in a city when major events were taking place (say the Olympics) and the hotels were full. They rented out AIRBEDS in their apartment.

Few people realize that Airbnb, was originally AIRBED and Breakfast. Read the history here:

It took 4 years (2008-2012) to reach 4 million bookings. It took ONE year 2013 to reach 9 million! They now say they are taking a booking every 2 seconds. That is 30 per minute; 1800 per hour; 43,200 per day; 15,768,000 per year projected for 2014 !!!! That's what EXPONENTIAL means.

Whether they will reach that number or not this year, the fact is they will reach a very large number. That number is too large to be ignored as if it were not going to have major impacts on many people in many ways.

The example Doug_Stallings gives of $1500 per month vs. $150 per night ($4500 per month) shows why this is attracting people who are in it ONLY for the money. It is no longer an individual renting a room or a bed now and then.
dulciusexasperis is offline  
Apr 16th, 2014, 08:18 AM
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This post is generating a reasonable discussion of the topic. This topic has been brought up many times on various Travel Forums, not just Fodors. Usually it gets into a heated defense of Airbnb by those using the service. Usually, by people who don't really understand what the issues are or don't WANT to understand.

For me the biggest issue is neighbours. If you live in an apartment building and suddenly several units are being rented out through Airbnb, I doubt very much that you would be happy with having total strangers have access to your building and arriving/departing constantly.

In that situation, it becomes to me a moral question. Should you as a traveller rent through Airbnb in a residential building or not?

Since Airbnb does NOT screen listings to determine if they are legal or not, never mind whether neighbours object or not, that means the onus is on the traveller using the service to do their own due diligence to determine if it is a legal rental and/or if their presence will be welcomed or not.
dulciusexasperis is offline  
Apr 16th, 2014, 08:46 AM
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There is something about this almos every day in the SF Chronicle. Supervisor Chiu offered a "sweeping" proposal yesterday, in the form of new "laws" (that seem to me to be quite un-enforceable and un-measurable). Today the Chron took a "go slow" position to the issue - ending their opinion piece with "the concerns of landlords and neighbors need greater consideration than Chiu's plan is offering".

There were three "letters to the editor" today that stated the concerns of neighbors having to live with short term vacationers coming & going - arriving at 3am, disturbing the "peace & quiet", and similar issues.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Apr 16th, 2014, 10:03 AM
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All good points. I completely agree about the issue of neighborliness: indeed, it's not right to expose your neighbors to people who are not only strangers to them but strangers to YOU.

Furthermore, as a condo board member, I would be very, very concerned about liability. If an Air BnB "guest" burns one of our buildings down, will our condo insurance still cover us? If a "guest" drowns in our pool, same question.

Illegal sublets pose a similar problem, except that a subletter has a vested interest in being a good neighbor so as not to attract scrutiny. Someone who is under the impression that they have paid for a room and have the right to enjoy it does not.
NewbE is offline  
Apr 16th, 2014, 12:09 PM
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Btw, does anyone else think Uber is just like AirBnB?
NewbE is offline  
Apr 16th, 2014, 01:43 PM
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I would just be very leery of staying in the home of someone I don't know.
Underhill is offline  
Apr 16th, 2014, 02:15 PM
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Scroll through this long running thread to see comments over the last few years. I say 'scroll' as it is far too long to expect to read every comment.
dulciusexasperis is offline  
Apr 16th, 2014, 02:15 PM
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Scroll through this long running thread to see comments over the last few years. I say 'scroll' as it is far too long to expect to read every comment.
dulciusexasperis is offline  
Apr 16th, 2014, 04:05 PM
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I would suggest that condo or co-op insurance (I'm also a board member) would NOT cover either an accident to or damage caused by a paying guest. They would be in the building illegally (not a legitimate guest of a tenant/owner - but part of an illegal business) and that's just another reason that we don't allow this - besides the obvious security issues.

Not sure what would happen in the case of a rental building - but it would probably be the same - leaving both the tenant and the landlord exposed financially.
nytraveler is offline  
Apr 17th, 2014, 02:58 AM
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Dulcius, we have gone head to head on some issues, to the point of rudeness on both sides.

Thus I think it very important to thank you for your informed, intelligent, and well- reasoned contributions to this discussion.

I have made my own contributions on this topic elsewhere, contributions with a somewhat different focus. It would be superfluous to add to what you have written here.

Thank you.
Ackislander is offline  
Apr 17th, 2014, 06:37 AM
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LOL, these same comments on Airbnb, have got me plenty of rude responses on other threads and in other forums Ackislander.
dulciusexasperis is offline  
Apr 17th, 2014, 08:33 AM
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Yes, Newbe, some of us do think Über is just like Airbnb, only harder to get to since they are domiciled in the Netherlands and lawsuits against them have to be filed there.

I am not a lawyer but spent many years reading and marking up legal documents and contracts as part of my work.

While things vary from state to state and city to city, carrying passengers for hire normally requires livery or taxi plates, commercial liability insurance (and the 50-100-50 that Über is requiring is laughable) and a driver with a commercial driver's license.

This is all going to get settled in massive lawsuits some day. Until then, why take the risk?

Many of these were issues in the UK mini-cab/black cab wars. Does anyone have good information on how that turned out?
Ackislander is offline  
Apr 17th, 2014, 08:40 AM
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I am curious about Uber because friends of mine who have used it in NYC are emailing around a petition to bring it to our city--and I can't understand their enthusiasm. In NYC it seems to me that Uber wouldn't exist without the taxi shortage that occurs at peak hours and in bad weather; unlike Air BnB, it's not reliably cheaper, nor does it offer a unique experience. Add in an untrained driver (yeah, I know some cab drivers aren't really trained either, but still) and, most importantly, no insurance that would cover driving for money, and I ask "why??"
NewbE is offline  
Apr 17th, 2014, 09:10 AM
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Agree, Dulcius also now has my attention.

Have 15 3 BR, 2 Bath apartment bookmarked for possible rental next year in Paris on AirBnB.

I do know illegal apartments are being talked about in Paris/France.

We are still thinking about using the site, but certainly this conversation has us perplexed about what to do.

As long as each bookmarked apartment gives a street address I can usually pull up on Google other sites that have the same apartment for rent and has reviews.

No decisions made which way to go, but will have booked something by the end of July.

If I found anything on VBRO or Home Away or Owners Direct that accepted AX, they would be considered.
iris1745 is offline  
Apr 17th, 2014, 02:16 PM
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Don't get me wrong iris1745. There are legal rentals everywhere tourists are likely to want to go. It's simply that the onus is on you to do your own due diligence to make sure what you rent is a legal rental.

The insurance issue for example could be a nightmare if you fell down a set of stairs in a building say (Paris has a lot of buildings with no elevators) and needed medical attention.

Who would pay? Your travel insurance could well say, 'sorry, you were doing something illegal and your policy (all travel policies have such a clause)clearly states that your policy is void if you are engaged in anything illegal.

Checking references cannot tell you if a property is being rented illegally or not.

Note it says that owners in Paris CAN convert their property to a commercial property and legally rent. Also note, the last comment re your insurance.

Aparthotels exist in many cities including Paris. They are perfectly legal.
dulciusexasperis is offline  
Apr 17th, 2014, 03:23 PM
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dulcius; Thanks. I do realize there are problems with on -line rental agencies.

But we have rented large villa's in Tuscany [2] and Greece [1].

So far no problems.

This villa has been rented for next year and I don't anticipate any problems.

However it is always prudent to be cautious as I never take any kind of travel insurance.

Without needing to explain why, I made a crass comment about you before, I apologize for the comment.
iris1745 is offline  
Apr 18th, 2014, 06:57 AM
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Water off a duck's back iris1745. I often make statements that annoy people. I really don't care if they annoy people. I have opinions and tend to call a spade a spade. If you do that, you get flack.
dulciusexasperis is offline  
Apr 18th, 2014, 11:25 AM
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Yes, I have read some of your travel comments.
iris1745 is offline  
Apr 24th, 2014, 12:34 PM
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Our building doesn't allow rentals under 30 days. (Condo in SF.)

Did anyone see the recent Portlandia skit, Rent It Out? I enjoyed it, especially because I see those Pink Mustache unofficial taxis ALL over my city nowadays.
Leely2 is offline  
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