New Rules Begin for Short-Term Rentals, Airbnb, in San Francisco

Short-term rentals in private homes have been illegal in San Francisco – until now.

As of Sunday, a new law is in effect that states permanent residents, a property owner or tenant, can rent out their house or apartment for periods of fewer than 30 days at a maximum of 90 days a year. First, the permanent residents must acquire a certificate from the San Francisco Planning Department by registering their residential unit with the city and county.

After this process for the Planning Department’s Short-Term Residential Rental Registry, they must then list that registration number on every short-term property rental listing, online or not. The hosts must also live in that residential unit for at least nine months or 75 percent of the year and obtain liability insurance of at least $500,000.

Planning Department staff will review applications during appointments made ahead of time, and likely approve or reject the application within 15 business days. The meetings are appointment-only and must be attended in-person by a permanent resident of the property. If the status remains in good standing, the registration is good for two years.

Opponents of the new law say this type of rental will exacerbate the growing void of permanent options for those in need of affordable housing.

Supervisor David Campos voted against the law last year citing an issue with Airbnb not paying back taxes for the first six years of its operation in San Francisco. Campos estimates the company owes roughly $25 million. He is set to hold a hearing in February.

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