Update, 5:34 p.m.: The Board of Supervisors passed David Chiu's Airbnb legislation 7-4, with substantive amendments to be discussed later. The most noteworthy amendment was Supervisor Jane Kim's proposal to allow a third party to initiate litigation.
Debates over the app-based hospitality service Airbnb have grown more acrimonious in the last few weeks, right as the Board of Supervisors considers new legislation to legalize short-term rentals.
The proposed new law, floated by Supervisor David Chiu, would require Airbnb hosts to register with the city, pay a $50 fee every two years, and live in the property for nine months out of the year. Chiu believes these restrictions would allow the Planning Department to monitor hosts and ensure that they are paying the city's 14 percent hotel tax, while allowing them to take advantage of Airbnb as a supplemental income stream.
Up to 5,000 people currently rent rooms out as vacation squats, according to a recent report from the San Francisco Chronicle, and many of them use the extra money to pay their rent. Counterintuitively, the same tech platform that is eating up San Francisco's housing is also making the city affordable to middle-class tenants and homeowners.
[jump] Chiu reiterated that argument in an interview on KQED Forum this morning, during which he faced off with Dale Carlson, spokesperson for the coalition that's pushing to amend Chiu's legislation and add its own ballot measure to restrict Airbnb to neighborhoods with commercial zoning.
The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote on Chiu's legislation at around 3 p.m. today. Be prepared for a long fight. When he brought the same measure before the Land Use committee in September debate lasted 7 hours, and wound up with no resolution.