Today, we are talking a little bit about San Francisco’s new legislation that regulates short term rentals in the area. It’s being called the Airbnb legislation.

As you probably know, we passed laws that legalize this type of rental. Until recently, it was completely illegal to rent out a home or a room for less than 30 days unless you were a hotel. This was very controversial legislation and it is still controversial. I believe there will be changes and continued debate.

For now, these short term rentals have essentially been legalized and regulated. If you have a home or an apartment in San Francisco that is your primary residence; which means not your vacation home or an investment property or pied-a-terre, you can rent it out for short term periods of up to 90 days per year. To do that, you must register with the city, obtain the necessary insurance and pay the city’s hotel tax.

A lot of landlords are not happy with this because they don’t want their tenants turning their apartments into hotel rooms. If you are the property owner and a tenant tries to register with the city, you’ll get notified. You can’t prevent a tenant from doing this unless your lease prohibits subletting. At Gordon Property Management, all of our lease agreements have prohibited subletting for a long time. If you’re using a lease from the San Francisco Apartment Association (SFAA) or the Professional Property Management Association (PPMA), those lease agreements will also prohibit subletting. If you have an older lease agreement or no lease agreement or it’s silent on subletting, then unfortunately you cannot prevent tenants from doing this. However, you will be notified anytime it happens.

I actually think this can be a good step for San Francisco. Up until now, we had no rules. We saw tenants doing this on Airbnb and different lawyers always told us different things about what we could and could not do. At least now we know when tenants are doing it, we have regulations and they have to comply with city rules.

As I said earlier, I don’t think this is the last of it. I think we’ll see more changes in the future. If you have any questions about how this pertains to your rental property in San Francisco, please contact us at Gordon Property Management.