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Five ways to fight illegal Airbnb units

December 30, 2016

By Jennifer Fieber : 48hills – excerpt

Despite the rhetoric coming out from moderates in City Hall or from Airbnb itself, illegal short-term rentals are still a problem for San Francisco residents and enforcement is lackluster.

After Mayor Lee vetoed legislation improvements that passed the Board of Supervisors 7-3, it is clear to us at the Tenants Union that rectifying the problem of abuse is going to be a slow process if we rely on City Hall to fix it. Therefore, we offer five steps for citizens to take matters into their own hands. Together we can make illegal hotels unprofitable so hosts choose a permanent tenant over a tourist…

First though, don’t jump to conclusions. Some hosts are legally registered with the city and allowed to rent out ONE property that they live in themselves. With in-law units, the host must actually live in the in-law and not upstairs. You can check for legitimate registration on the Property Information Map. Look for a STR registration permit on the “Planning App” tab.

If a unit is properly registered but is a party pad nightmare for you, you should contact the platform’s complaint department or the owner themselves if you can. Airbnb’s complaint line is: We have tried to file complaints in the past and found it a futile, exasperating experience, but maybe it has changed. Good luck!

Also forward these complaints to the Office of Short Term Rentals and us for good measure so we can track them: and…(more)

Here are some other options: (see details)

  1. Starve the Beast Through Direct Action.
  2. Properly Report Illegal Hotels.
  3. Former tenants can sue for Wrongful Eviction.
  4. Neighbors have standing to sue.
  5. Snitch for the common good.
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