SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco is enforcing short-term rental regulations and making it easier for hosts to comply with rules under a new agency.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announced the Office of Short Term Rental Administration Thursday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The six-person office will investigate violators and is intended to streamline host registrations for people who use home-sharing services like Airbnb.
Short-term rentals were illegal in San Francisco for years. The ban was rarely enforced before February, when the city legalized the practice with certain conditions, such as hosts registering with the city and a limit of 90 days a year for entire-unit rentals.
About 700 hosts have registered with the city so far.
There are more than 5,000 San Francisco listings on Airbnb. Owners of the website paid the city an undisclosed amount in back taxes and has been paying about $1 million per month in hotel taxes since October.
Short-term rentals face opposition from a group called ShareBetter SF. Organizers plan to turn in signatures to get a measure on the fall ballot that would cut down on the number of vacation rentals and create fines for companies like Airbnb that violate city code.
The board of supervisors is also considering a pair of measures that would place restrictions on the industry.
Tony Winnicker is Lee’s senior adviser, and says an agency dealing exclusively with short-term rental regulations is unique.
“Whatever the outcome of these policy changes, short-term rentals are here to stay,” Winnicker said. “No matter what the law is, they need to be regulated and people need to be registered.”
The Office of Short Term Rental Administration will be made up of officials from the city’s planning and administrator’s offices. It operates under a $900,000 budget with funding from host fees and hotel taxes.