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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Airbnb Debate Heads to Board of Supervisors

Posted By on Tue, May 19, 2015 at 11:17 AM

click to enlarge TANUHA2001 / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
  • tanuha2001 / Shutterstock.com
After a six-hour hearing on regulating Airbnb and other short-term rental platforms in San Francisco, nothing was decided except that we'll do it all again soon. 

Yesterday's meeting of the Board of Supervisors' Land Use and Economic Development Committee ended with both proposals for revising the city's short-term rental rules being forwarded to the full board. According to the SF Examiner, the full board will vote on the issue on June 9th. 

That meeting will likely resemble yesterday's hearing, which featured large groups of resident waiting for hours to comment. Supporters of what they call "home sharing" wore large stickers proclaiming "I'm not 'commercial,' I'm middle class." Opponents wore stickers stating, "Homes not hotels." 

Both sides took the opportunity to co-opt the others' talking points. Supporters of short-term rentals claimed that Airbnb makes their housing affordable by providing them with an extra stream of income (a key argument of opponents of Airbnb is that the platform creates incentives for removing housing from the rental market). Meanwhile, opponents of Airbnb suggested that "home sharers" enjoy the benefits of sharing their homes full-time by getting a roommate. 

We can expect a rerun of similar arguments at the Board meeting in June, but the real decision will probably come down to a popular vote in November. We'll see then if more than 50% of San Franciscans get a personal text from the Mayor


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About The Author

Julia Carrie Wong

Bio:
Julia Carrie Wong's work has appeared in numerous local and national titles including 48hills, Salon, In These Times, The Nation, and The New Yorker.

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