San Francisco to Cast Vote on Airbnb Initiative, Measure to Limit Rental Days Loses
San Francisco residents cast their vote over the future of Airbnb rentals in the city last Tuesday, November 3. The locals chose not to limit rental days for the online vacation accommodations app.
A proposal to restrict the number of rental days on short term rental apartments and homes to only 75 nights a year failed to gain the majority vote from residents, according to the Los Angeles Times. The measure, dubbed as the Airbnb initiative in San Francisco, lost by a significant margin. Only 45 percent of the residents, who voted on Tuesday, opted to restrict the rental days while 55 percent voted against the Airbnb initiative.
The Airbnb initiative was led by Proposition F, whose proposal to limit rental days was meant to prevent landlords from converting their properties into an Airbnb short term rental unit, according to CNBC. It also requires homeowners who rent out their properties to file quarterly rental reports with authorities, among other proposed rulings. The group also claims that home sharing services offered by Airbnb and similar websites are adding to the housing shortage and the rising rental costs in San Francisco.
However, Scott Wiener from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors told CNBC that short term rentals are not the "primary cause of [the] housing crisis." He explained that one of the main reasons for the challenges in San Francisco's housing market was the shortage of housing units. "We haven't built enough housing," he said. "We don't have enough affordable housing, and we should be focused on those real solutions,"
Wiener added that removing the opportunity for locals to put their properties up as short term rentals in the market will "hurt a lot of San Francisco residents." He clarified that it was a way for residents, who rely on income from renting out a spare bedroom in their homes, to "make ends meet in this expensive city." Wiener also mentioned that the residents he is referring to are those that are not "being abusive" of the home sharing service.
Meanwhile, Airbnb invested in a $2million campaign in San Francisco to gain more supporters against Proposition F and their proposed Airbnb initiative, reports the Wall Street Journal. The campaign involved veteran field organizers and hundreds of volunteers to help defeat the opposition. The company has also allotted $8 million in total as part of a comprehensive campaign to defeat similar measures. Airbnb has even tried to woo officials in at least nine cities including Paris and San Francisco, by agreeing to pay taxes in said areas.