VRBO/Airbnb rental status in San Francisco

Apr 7th, 2014, 08:18 AM
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VRBO/Airbnb rental status in San Francisco

This appeared in today's Chron

http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/articl...ls-5381237.php

Stu Dudley
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Apr 7th, 2014, 08:34 AM
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Very interesting. Thanks for posting.
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Apr 7th, 2014, 10:17 AM
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Thanks, did not know apartment rentals were illegal in SF. Knew about NYC and Santa Monica.
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Apr 7th, 2014, 10:47 AM
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I wonder does that hold true for condo?
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Apr 7th, 2014, 10:57 AM
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It does say "San Francisco bans all residential rentals of less than 30 days unless the hosts have a conditional use permit - an expensive and cumbersome process that virtually everyone ignores. The ban applies whether the hosts own or rent, paying guests visit frequently or once a year, or hosts rent out a room or an entire dwelling."
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Apr 7th, 2014, 11:15 AM
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Well, a condo owner wouldn't get evicted, they could however face condo board issues which might be worse!
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Apr 7th, 2014, 11:19 AM
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I wonder how cities in Europe handle this? It seems to me that an owner of a free-standing home would argue for the right to do short-term rentals, all other things being equal, but the rights of homeowners do not appear to be a factor in American cities' battle against VRBO, Air BnB and the like.
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Apr 7th, 2014, 12:24 PM
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Well, Paris has essentially the same rules, so that is how one European city handles it, NewbE. People rent apartments illegally all the time. If they get caught, they get hit. They are more likely to get caught in condos and apartments because other owners turn them in. No one likes strangers in the building, and the staff hate it.

The power of a condo board in most states in the US is to fine the owner. If the owner doesn't pay, the board gets a lien on the condo and takes the fines when the condo is sold. If the owner fails to pay fines until the amount of the fine equals the value of the property, the board can foreclose and force a sale. I have only seen this happen once, but then my experience is limited.
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Apr 7th, 2014, 12:54 PM
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Interesting, thanks. It seems to me that one accepts significant restrictions on lots of things in a condo or apartment building in the name of communal living, and indeed, no one likes strangers in the building.

As I said, I do wonder that owners of free-standing homes don't protest such restrictions more. I can see both sides: no one likes a random assortment of strangers on one's block, but on the other hand, does ownership not confer the right to use ones; home as one sees fit as long as noise and other regulations are not violated?
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Apr 7th, 2014, 01:13 PM
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Even owners of free standing home cannot just do as they please. There are zoning laws in most towns and cities that may regulate whether or not you can have a B&B in your home.

Also, a question I never see come up on this subject is insurance. Most homeowners insurance policies don't cover things like having paying guests unless you get special coverage. I wonder how many people renting out space on Air BnB have that. My agent told me that renting out a room through Air BnB or privately without the specific coverage would void the policy. This effects the renter more than a rentee but still an issue.
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Apr 7th, 2014, 01:34 PM
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The 30 day rule does apply to all property owners, however, to my knowledge the City has never attempted to enforce the ordinance against individual homeowners. The ordinance was enacted to prevent the owners of large multi-unit rental buildings from bypassing SF rent control ordinances and from turning their buildings into short-term tourist residences.

The current situation is based on the fact that tenants are letting, some or all of their apartments. In some cases these are tenants in rent controlled apartments who are collecting far more in vacation rentals than the landlord is allowed to charge them for rent. Landlords are seeing it as a way to evict rent controlled tenants and therefore get market rate for the apartments.

Even if the City does amend the ordinance to allow short term rentals, probably with payment of hotel taxes, I think quite a number of landlords will put no rental clauses in their leases.
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Apr 7th, 2014, 04:55 PM
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VERY few of these places in large cities are free-standing residences. They are usually rental units in larger buildings - or sometimes in condos or co-ops (although that is a lot easier to stop) and the other tenants are sharing entrances, public aras, elevators with a pack of strangers about whom one knows nothing - plus those people usually walk away with a setof keys or electronic fobs that allow entrance to the building - that they can use or sell or whatever.

Typically the landlord buildings have clauses in the the standard lease banning any sort of sublet without prior approval of the landlord. So - if someone plans on renting their apt - the shouldn't sign such a lease.
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Apr 8th, 2014, 03:41 AM
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NewbE asks, "Does ownership not confer the right to use ones; home as one sees fit as long as noise and other regulations are not violated?"

Not in many places. Zoning is often an issue (neighborhoods may be zoned only for single family residences). Some zoning laws prevent occupancy by more than a certain number of unrelated people. I used to live in a town that prohibited more than one cooking stove per address as one of many ways to prevent accessory apartments. It's a mishmash.

I am not saying I agree with all of this, but it is a complex subject.
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Apr 8th, 2014, 08:01 AM
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Ackis, yes, of course it is, and I did not mean to imply that when one owns a free-standing home, the sky's the limit. I would not want strangers trooping through my building, nor would I want them checking in next door. Zoning laws exist in large part to create a cordon around places people live. I am surprised, though, that homeowners, never seem to assert themselves on the side of rentals in this debate; perhaps that's because they haven't a leg to stand on, or perhaps these pro-rental homeowners just don't exist in large numbers.
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Apr 8th, 2014, 08:08 AM
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Why is it such a surprise to so many that a city can control what someone does with his private home? Surely most people know that a home owner most places can't park a motor home in his driveway, or put a washing machine on the front porch, or run a business in his living room.
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Apr 8th, 2014, 08:17 AM
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And in some places in areas with a lot of summer rentals there are regulations that more than 3 unrelated adults cannot occupy a house - to prevent groups of students from renting.

In the area where my B/SIL live you can't park cars on the street between midnight and 6 am - they have to be in garages or at least driveways - the idea being that the police can then focus on an illegally parked car as belonging to potential burglars.

And in my mother's neighborhood houses can have only one kitchen - to prevent illegal shares and "granny flats" - since it is zoned for single family residences only.
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Apr 9th, 2014, 07:43 AM
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Thanks for posting the article, Stu. We have a couple of VRBO rentals lined up for our San Francisco, Mendocino County, Healdsburg trip coming up in May. I have yet to pay my second installment and, at this late date, am not going to attempt to back out. But this artilce gives me food for thought in using VRBO and like agencies in the future, especially in bigger cities, where this seems to be a bigger issue. I sure hope that vacation rentals remain a viable option though, as we have certainly enjoyed the greater comfort they often provide. But I also understand the concerns they pose as well. I've only stayed in freestanding homes up to this point, but I sympathize with landlords who are otherwise subject to rent control and to other residents in, say, a condo development, who are subjected to short-term tenants with far less at stake in how they treat the place. Of course, I look at this issue through the lens of a quiet and considerate guest, as my husband and I are always very respectful when we rent, but I'm aware that many others perhaps do not exercise the same care.
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Apr 9th, 2014, 08:16 AM
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There is another current post by DebitNM with a citation to airbnb's new terms of service.

In the contract, they require renting members to affirm that they are in compliance with all local laws and regulations, including homeowner and condominium association rules and that they are not violating any lease or rental agreements with their landlord if they themselves are renters or lessees.

In other words, Airbnb has passed all liability on to their members. They are only responsible for the software that connects vendors and users.
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Apr 9th, 2014, 11:21 AM
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It's not just bigger cities. Where I moved to recently (population 3800) also has an ordinance banning less than 30 day rentals http://ci.carmel.ca.us/carmel/index....-rental-rules/ and it's currently being debated on the county level http://www.montereycountyweekly.com/...a4bcf6878.html
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Apr 9th, 2014, 04:52 PM
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Thanks for clarifying that Patty.
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