You may have thought that talk of illegal Airbnb units was a thing of the past, but new data from SF's Office of Short-Term Rentals (OSTR) suggests that scofflaws are back at in our fair city.
The number of complaints about illegal short-term-rentals was up nearly four times year over year in the fourth quarter of 2019, as Socketsite reports via the OSTR's database. There were a total of 116 such complaints during the quarter, and complaints were up 30 percent for the year overall compared to 2018, with over 300.
Socketsite notes there had been a 50-percent drop in complaints between 2017 and 2018, after the city enacted its legislation on short-term rentals in 2016, requiring all hosts to register with the new city department, the OSTR — and after Airbnb and HomeAway relented and agreed to help crackdown on scofflaws.
But all of this may be moot for the coming year as tourism to San Francisco goes off the cliff. The San Francisco Travel Association is predicting a standstill when it comes to travel that reaches post-9/11 levels, but we don't know for how long. Joe D’Alessandro, the president and CEO of the association, issued a statement Thursday, per the Business Times, calling the coronavirus crisis "an unprecedented disruption to our business, far beyond other recent events like 9/11 and the financial crisis of 2008." He also announced the temporary closing of the Moscone Visitor Information Center and the layoffs of three full-time and two part-time employees.
Socketsite also cites anecdotal evidence that Airbnb hosts in SF are seeing widespread cancelations and a drop in bookings.