Monday, November 2, 2015

San Francisco To Vote On Rules For Airbnb

From the Los Angeles Times:

San Francisco residents to vote on contentious Prop. F targeting Airbnb
It's not often a technology start-up — albeit one with a $25-billion valuation — makes it front and center in a city election. Then again, we are talking about San Francisco.

Tuesday, San Franciscans will head to the polls to vote on, among other things, Proposition F, casually known as the "Airbnb initiative."

The contentious proposition concerns regulation of short-term rentals in the city. It would toughen the rules that hosts and platform providers must follow, such as limiting the number of nights a unit can be rented each year to 75, and would require quarterly reports to the San Francisco Planning Department on how a unit is used.

It's an issue with which Angelenos are no doubt familiar. Santa Monica passed strict short-term rental rules in May, banning residents from renting out entire units, and Los Angeles announced it is considering similarly tough measures.

The difference here is that San Franciscans are turning to the ballot to decide how this should play out.

It may sound like a run-of-the-mill ballot measure, but in a city grappling with a housing crisis and the effect of a thriving tech hub, and with residents worried about privacy and wary of how their personal data are used, San Francisco is ground zero for a Proposition F freakout.

Over the last few months, residents have been bombarded with television commercials describing Proposition F as "unnecessary" and "extreme" while also receiving campaign literature that describes it as a "modest measure."

Billboards sponsored by the No on Prop. F campaign, largely bankrolled by Airbnb, allege Proposition F will lead neighbors to file frivolous lawsuits against one another, while proponents of the proposition have written op-eds in the San Francisco Chronicle saying that if it weren't for neighbors complaining, the city wouldn't do anything about rental violations....MORE
In other sharing economy news:

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 21:  A Lyft car sits at a stoplight on January 21, 2014 in San Francisco, California. As ridesharing services like Lyft, Uber and Sidecar become more popular, the San Francisco Cab Driver Association is reporting that nearly one third of San Francisco's licensed taxi drivers have stopped driving taxis and have started to drive for the ridesharing services.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)