The PJ Tatler

San Francisco Voters Reject Restrictions on Airbnb

Yesterday I wrote about the controversial measure in San Francisco that would severely restrict sharing economy darling Airbnb. I’m pleased to report that the voters have sided with freedom and there will not be additional restrictions placed on residents who want to rent out their private property.

Proposition F, the San Francisco ballot measure that would restrict the way property owners could rent out their private property through the Airbnb service, was defeated by a respectable margin yesterday.  The city is reporting a 10-point spread with the measure going down 55% to 45%.

The measure would have capped rentals at 75 days a year, whether or not they are hosted (meaning that the resident is at home during the renter’s stay). Current city law limits rentals to 90 days a year for unhosted rentals, while hosted rentals face no such limit.

Opponents of the measure raised a sizable war chest. Airbnb had an impressive $8m to defeat the measure while supporters only raised $800,000.

Here’s some insight into the mind of a San Francisco voter. “That gap in funding was ‘maybe the thing that most convinced me’ to support the measure,” said Michael Reiner, 24, an advertising industry freelancer who has lived in San Francisco for two years. “It just seems that we need to keep big corporations in check.”

Was this issue about big corporations or was this about how people decide to use their private property?

Supporters of the measure said that restricting Airbnb rentals would help the city’s affordable housing crisis. A one bedroom apartment rents for $4,000 in San Francisco.

The initiative “disingenuously asserts [that] it addresses the housing crisis,” said Patrick Hannan, campaign manager for No on Proposition F. “Thousands of apartments will not suddenly become available.”

“Everyone loves using Airbnb, and they’ll say they always use Airbnb no matter where they go — as long as it’s not in their neighborhood,” Russian Hill resident Gary Hermansen said.