City Fines Owners of Illegal Airbnb Where Wild Gunfight Ensued

The owners resided in Indonesia when more than 100 bullets rang out, scattering partygoers through Bernal Heights.

Owners of the illegal short-term rental where a massive gunfight erupted in Bernal Heights more than a year ago will fork over $185,000 to the city. 

Married couple Erik Rogers and Anshu Singh — who resided in Indonesia when the gun battle happened in October 2017 — reached a settlement with the city, City Attorney Dennis Herrera announced Tuesday. In addition to a $25,000 penalty, the homeowners of 212 Banks St. will relinquish the $160,000 they made from illegally renting out the property on Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO for more than a year.

“These owners deliberately chose to break the law. They lied on their application, got caught, and went about illegally renting the property anyway,” Herrera says in a statement. “They exploited this housing crisis for profit, putting money ahead of their neighbors’ safety.” 

The rental run came to a horrific end when one of their guests held a huge party that ended in a colossal shootout in a quiet part of town. More than a 100 bullets were fired, striking homes in the neighborhood and even entering one living room, according to the City Attorney’s Office. Partygoers ran from rooftop to rooftop or through residential backyards and ultimately, 18 parked cars were damaged.

Thankfully, no one died but one person was shot that night. And at the end of January, a neighbor found a leftover gun and wounded his hand when he accidentally discharged it.

“The shootout at an illegal Airbnb in Bernal Heights last year terrified and traumatized residents in my district,” Supervisor Hillary Ronen says. “For anyone thinking of disregarding San Francisco short-term rental regulations in the future, this judgment sends a clear message that we take these laws seriously and intend to enforce them to keep residential neighborhoods safe.”

Herrera filed a lawsuit against Rogers and Singh in May, alleging that they also violated planning codes by turning the home into two units without permits that were managed by others the couple had hired. City law requires owners seeking tenants for short-term rentals to reside there for at least 275 nights each year, which Rogers lied about on the application.

After the Office of Short-Term Rentals determined 212 Banks St. denied permits, the couple continued to illegal list it as a short-term rental while mostly living in Bali, Indonesia.

The couple once again finds themselves not legally allowed to offer their property as a lucrative short-term rental, this time for five years. If history is any indication, it would come as no surprise if they tried again anyway.

But Herrera is no stranger to catching repeat offenders, such as the Lees who were first caught in 2015 and immediately returned to their illegal Airbnb empire. Despite what’s been called an “elaborate scheme” to have their 17 buildings appeared lived in, the City’s Attorney’s Office investigated and got them to settle for $2.25 million just last month.

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