Press Release: Supervisor Wiener to Call for Standing Oversight Hearings on Short Term Rental Enforcement

Quarterly hearings will focus on ensuring robust enforcement, transparency, and accountability for abusive and illegal short term rentals by newly created Office of Short Term Rentals

San Francisco — At today’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Supervisor Scott Wiener will call for standing quarterly oversight hearings on short-term rental enforcement in San Francisco. The goal of the hearings is to provide continuing, transparent public oversight for city enforcement efforts to ensure that the recently enacted short-term rental law is being robustly enforced and that illegal and abusive short-term rentals are being shut down promptly. At each hearing, the recently created Office of Short Term Rentals will be asked to present on various statistics, including number of short-term rental registrations, progress on getting more STRs registered, and enforcement efforts against violators. The quarterly hearings will commence in January, and occur every three months thereafter.

“Vigorous enforcement is essential to effective regulation of short-term rentals, and the public needs to have full confidence that the city is enforcing the law against bad actors,” said Supervisor Wiener. “When we enacted, for the first time, regulations of short-term rentals, we required STR owners to register, obtain insurance, and pay hotel taxes. We also required residents engaging in STRs to live in their homes and limited the number of days per year that an STR can be rented without the resident present in the unit. We need to make sure that STRs are doing what we want them to do — allowing San Francisco residents to earn additional income from a spare room — and that they are not a pretext for turning a housing unit into a hotel without a permanent resident. Many residents are playing by the rules — they have come forward, registered, paid taxes, and complied with the law. It undermines these good actors when bad actors engage in illegal and abusive STRs. During this housing crisis, we need to preserve our existing housing stock, in addition to creating new housing, and enforcing the law effectively and consistently against abusive STRs is critical. If you want to do short-term rentals in San Francisco, you need to play by the rules.”

At the oversight hearings, the Office of Short Term Rentals will report on current staffing levels, registration and enforcement activity, and any need for additional resources to adequately enforce the law. Supervisor Wiener will invite short-term rental companies to participate in the hearings.

The Office of Short Term Rentals reports that 774 short-term rental registrations have been issued, with another 200 registration appointments scheduled in the coming month. Approximately $406,000 in penalties have been assessed, in cases involving 32 dwelling units. The office has 5 full-time employees, with a sixth position to be filled soon.

In 2014, the Board of Supervisors passed the Short Term Rental Ordinance, sponsored by then-Supervisor David Chiu, to create a regulatory framework under which short term rentals could be allowed to exist. That law went into effect in February of 2015, and in July 2015, the Board enacted modifications, including creation of the Office of Short Term Rentals as a one stop shop for registration and enforcement efforts. In the city budget adopted this past summer, the Board and Mayor also significantly increased funding for short-term rental enforcement.

The recurring quarterly hearing will take place at the Board’s Land Use & Transportation Committee.

CA State Senator. Urbanist. Environmentalist. Advocate for transit, housing, clean energy, criminal justice reform, health, ending poverty. Democrat. 🏳️‍🌈

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