At today's Board of Supervisors meeting, David Chiu's new proposed law will go to a vote, solidifying AirBnB as a legit business, but also keeping too much of San Francisco's precious housing stock from becoming a bunch of quaint transient hotel suites that cost $500 a night.

The new legislation will do the following, as the Chron and others are reporting:

  • Limit AirBnB rentals in multi-unit buildings to apartments which are master-tenant-occupied at least 75 percent of the year.
  • Require anyone receiving AirBnB revenue for their apartment or condo to pay the city ToT (transient occupancy tax).
  • Create a public registry of AirBnB hosts who will need to renew their registration with the city every two years, and to carry liability insurance.
  • But it will not override existing lease agreements, if a landlord has already prohibited such short-term rentals.

The new legislation does remove one method that landlords have had to evict tenants who rent their units via AirBnB, which is to cite the city's ban on short-term rentals. They will now have to go through the city's regular eviction process if the tenant violates their lease, which allows the tenant first to address the complaint and rectify the situation.

In talking to Time, Chiu said he feels for "struggling families" who use the service to make ends meet, especially if they're temporarily out of town. But he hopes to address abuses, like entrepreneurs who have been snapping up multiple apartments and becoming mini hotel magnates.

AirBnB users are likely to be wary of the city registry, especially those who don't want their landlords knowing what they're doing. And as for people who own their homes, the legislation doesn't apply to them if they're in a single-unit dwelling, though Chiu said he's open to legalizing that as well. (Currently, single-family-homeowners are technically barred from using their homes for such "commercial" purposes.)

The hotel industry has been fighting hard against this but the tide may have escaped them. All that is left are property owners and real estate folk who see the whole AirBnB trend as disrupting the peace and safety of long-term tenants whose neighbors are doing this, and creating hazards for landlords down the line.

We'll see how this plays out, though the ordinance seems likely to pass today's vote.


Previously: San Francisco Going After Airbnb Hosts