Sour Dough: Airbnb's impact in San Francisco
July 14, 2015 11:54 AM   Subscribe

In a five-part series, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Carolyn Said examines Airbnb’s impact in San Francisco. (Previously)

  • Part 1: The Airbnb effect -- At least 350 entire homes listed on Airbnb appear to be full-time vacation rentals, bolstering claims by activists that the service removes scarce housing from the city’s limited inventory.
  • Part 2: Living with Airbnb -- A family in the Castro welcomes guests to raise funds and make friends, while a landlord in Nob Hill stands accused of turning a Victorian home into a full-time hotel.
  • Part 3: Hosts or hoteliers? -- The Chronicle compiled a conservative estimate of Airbnb listings functioning as full-time vacation rentals.
  • Part 4: Airbnb hosts come and go -- In the year since The Chronicle’s last data dive, 2,773 listings dropped off of Airbnb — although they were replaced by 3,492 new listings.
  • Part 5: Flouting the law -- While Airbnb cultivates a folksy image of hosts as middle-class locals making ends meet, HomeAway proclaims its hosts are affluent out-of-towners renting their pied-a-terres.
posted by Room 641-A (69 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
 
In the grand scheme of things, isn't it better for housing to be put to use rather than sit empty?
posted by Teppy at 12:05 PM on July 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yes, but if they can get more money doing short-term housing, then there are fewer long-term rental units on the market. Less rental units means increased prices for the rest of us.
posted by just.good.enough at 12:06 PM on July 14, 2015 [22 favorites]


There's a billboard I see every day when I walk from my home to my place of work, stating in no uncertain terms that Airbnb pays over $1 million in taxes to SF every year. Evidently, now that they've paid their back taxes (in February of this year), which evidently were in arrears for approximately 3 years, they feel the need to proclaim their virtue to the financial district.

The issue is heating up here in the city by the bay.
posted by janey47 at 12:06 PM on July 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


In the grand scheme of things, isn't it better for housing to be put to use rather than sit empty?

But for the most part, I don't think that's the binary. If the apartments weren't being used as Air BnB rentals, presumably they would be free market housing.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:11 PM on July 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


I don't really have a dog in the fight about AirBnB. I don't use it, it doesn't impact my life. I don't care. I moved to the Bay Area approximately a year and a half ago, and I care very much about the insane rents here, and what has caused them. Let me be clear about something:

AirBnB is not in any way part of the problem of rents in this city. People turning whole houses into hotels is not what's causing the housing crisis here. What's causing the housing crisis here is that currently approximately 825,000 people live in SF, with very little ability to build more housing. (the link is to the population for 1979, because that shows a chart that illustrates the growth between then and now.)

The people of San Francisco like their city looking the way it looks. They don't want the adorable victorians torn down in order to accommodate high rise apartment complexes. But they also don't like their rents rising. So they blame the influx of tech companies. Especially Google (whose impact on the city has, admittedly, been problematic). But here's the problem: the tech companies are coming here anyway, and no one will be able to stop them. So now what? Do you complain about rents all day while still stubbornly supporting every initiative to prevent large scale building? Or do you acknowledge that the area has to change and allow it to change in a way that keeps people living there affordably?

So when I read something about AirBnB... it just smells like the same problem to me. It's a lot easier to complain about the new companies than it is to look at the real problem, because the real problem is that San Francisco needs to tear down some if its loveliest buildings and lose some of its best views of rolling hills of low buildings. And no one wants to stare that problem down.
posted by shmegegge at 12:21 PM on July 14, 2015 [70 favorites]


I don't think empty houses and apts are the issues in SF. It's the lack of empty houses and apts, bolstered by airbnb, that causes a problems for people who to want to rent /buy.

Less available properties means those properties are more expensive.
posted by sio42 at 12:21 PM on July 14, 2015


And on preview what schmeggee says
posted by sio42 at 12:22 PM on July 14, 2015


Does airbnb drive down hotel prices? Does it increase tourism in a city, thereby creating a stronger tourism economy and bringing money to the city?

I think the issue here is, should market forces be allowed to turn a city in a tourist playground? And I honestly don't know a good answer to that. Rich assholes are going to spend their money and be rich assholes somewhere; it might as well be SF.

Yes, this unduly affects poorer people, and I have personally been priced out of neighborhoods and also I hate SF. I still don't necessarily see this as a bad thing - rather, this seems a side effect of cheap airfare and a yuppie mythos of traveling to find one's identity.

The only real solution is wealth redistribution. Airbnb seems more like a symptom than an actual problem. At it's core, it's using a social network to allow people to rent out their houses, something humans have done since time immemorial. I mean, the whole history of the west coast is one of flop houses. This is just a new flophouse, for a new economic class.

The fact that it changes cities *gasp* on the west coast should be expected - how much has SF changed since 1850? What about Portland and Seattle? It's like, everyone manifested their destiny and went west, and then got all NIMBY when other people also wanted to manifest their destinies.
posted by special agent conrad uno at 12:23 PM on July 14, 2015 [11 favorites]


Nice to finally see a piece that's actually data-driven, rather than just gathering opinions. Ultimately the data seem, to my reading, to suggest that AirBnB's impact on housing and rental costs/availability is seriously overblown by AirBnB's more vociferous critics. The authors' try to avoid coming to this conclusion when they write
But in a city wracked by a housing crisis, where a typical year sees just 2,000 new units added, a few hundred units off the market makes a significant dent.
but they never go that final step in their data collection and analysis to try to show that this is actually true. Would adding a few hundred units to the total housing stock in SF really have a significant impact on average rent or median house price? I find that hard to believe.
posted by yoink at 12:26 PM on July 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


This isn't the problem but merely the symptom of a bigger one. San Francisco is literally out of land and people still want to live there en masse. It's entirely built up. So the only way you can fit more people in the area is to build up a'la Manhattan. But if you want to build up you get people getting shitty, crying about redevelopments ruining neightbourhoods and ridiculous things like eight story height limits along heavy rail corridors. Fucking madness.

Then you have to put up with the NIMBY that shows up when putting in a parking garage to keep up with the insane parking since Muni is next to useless in areas where the subway doesn't reach and San Francisco seems to take it as a point of pride to have a fucked up series of slow and shitty bus routes to get to and from a lot of the places that aren't along Market Street. If I want to go from Noe Valley to Cal Academy it takes 15 minutes on a good day up 7th Avenue to drive. It takes triple that time to take Muni bus.

I'm not sure where things should have to give but it's obvious that the market is busy making that decision for the city, board of supervisors be damned, and that decision is that, in absence of any sane policy about redevelopment, poor people gotta go.
posted by Talez at 12:27 PM on July 14, 2015 [17 favorites]


should market forces be allowed to turn a city in a tourist playground?

This is happening in Asheville, too; we're currently experiencing a hotel-building boom downtown and a brewery boom and etc. etc. etc. My friends and I rarely even go downtown on weekends anymore because it's no longer for locals. It's a playground for well-to-do Atlanta/Charlotte/Knoxville/etc. residents who want to experience a "funky" weekend and drink lots of craft beer. WHICH IS FINE. But it no longer feels like my city where I live. I don't recognize anyone when I go out, and that wasn't the case a couple of years ago. It feels a lot less friendly.

Conrad Uno is right--the solution is indeed wealth redistribution. As long as wages in hospitality are as low as they are, and as long as short-term lodging is driving up long-term rents beyond what $8/hour can afford, residents in these cities will suffer. Not only from the immediate not-being-able-to-buy-groceries and not-being-able-to-find-parking-in-our-own-goddamn-downtown concerns, but suffer from a loss of identity and sense of place, too.
posted by witchen at 12:30 PM on July 14, 2015 [8 favorites]


What's causing the housing crisis here is that currently approximately 825,000 people live in San Francisco.

Actually the problem is that the local cities that are actually near the tech companies, cites like Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto and the like, refuse to construct housing for the tech workers. They like the increasing property values and also insist that the cities maintain their carefully sculpted single-family dwelling appearance. And so they foist the workers who enable this boom onto cites like San Francisco,

In other words, it's largely because the suburb cities refuse to build housing and expect San Francisco to do all the work. As a result, the problem is only going to get worse. There's 7.5 million people in the greater Bay Area- expecting San Francisco to deal with all of the population increase is ridiculous.
posted by happyroach at 12:35 PM on July 14, 2015 [21 favorites]


Actually the problem is that the local cities that are actually near the tech companies, cites like Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto and the like, refuse to construct housing for the tech workers. They like the increasing property values and also insist that the cities maintain their carefully sculpted single-family dwelling appearance. And so they foist the workers who enable this bloom onto cites like San Francisco,

Oh come on. Anyone who works on the peninsula doesn't actually live in SF unless they want to specifically live in San Francisco proper. Santa Clara county holds twice as many people as SF and San Mateo is like 7/8ths of SF's population. South Bay isn't the problem here. To insinuate that San Francisco is some bastion of culture infested with commuters using it as a bedroom community (unlike somewhere where this is a real problem like Santa Cruz) is complete fucking madness.
posted by Talez at 12:39 PM on July 14, 2015 [26 favorites]


My friends and I rarely even go downtown on weekends anymore because it's no longer for locals. It's a playground for well-to-do Atlanta/Charlotte/Knoxville/etc. residents who want to experience a "funky" weekend and drink lots of craft beer. WHICH IS FINE. But it no longer feels like my city where I live. I don't recognize anyone when I go out, and that wasn't the case a couple of years ago. It feels a lot less friendly.

Ditto D.C., if you count people from the MD/VA suburbs as tourists - though it's increasingly impossible for me to tell recent transplants to DC from suburbanites from more affluent tourists from elsewhere.

Anecdotally, Air B&B is playing a role in moving genuine tourists out of their traditional center in the downtown / monumental core to DC's residential neighborhoods. It's happening as I type this at the end of my block in Mt. Pleasant.

In theory, this would be a positive, but it seems to be having the net effect of helping to render the entire city a bland, expensive, suffocatingly top-down and increasingly insufferable instance of a global focus-group tested culture in which anything truly idiosyncratic, local, or not optimized for maximum profit is just an anachronism to be run roughshod over.
posted by ryanshepard at 12:46 PM on July 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


Actually the problem is that the local cities that are actually near the tech companies, cites like Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto and the like, refuse to construct housing for the tech workers.

Yeah, I also don't think this is accurate. My perception has always been that people choose to live in SF and shoulder the crazy rent because it's hipper/more scenic than, say, Sunnyvale.
posted by delight at 12:52 PM on July 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Just wait until teleportation is invented. Then rich assholes will be everywhere, instantly.
posted by grumpybear69 at 12:52 PM on July 14, 2015 [14 favorites]


I think if you look at the population comparisons, they're pretty flat over the course of 35 years. We see population go up on booms (dot com, etc), and down on busts (and natural disasters), but it's a peninsula without room to expand and oh yeah there has been a ton of housing built south of market in the last 10 or 15 years so just because many of the districts retain low density housing doesn't mean either that the population is out of control or that there has been no housing added.
posted by janey47 at 12:55 PM on July 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Actually the problem is that the local cities that are actually near the tech companies, cites like Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto and the like, refuse to construct housing for the tech workers.

I actually do agree with this, but only to a very small degree. It kinda depends on what type of housing you're looking for. If you're a tech employee with a family, there are plenty of options in the South Bay. If you're a single person looking for a small apartment, the options are a bit more limited and not all that much cheaper than what's up in SF. (If you think this is incorrect and know of a bunch of reasonable studios for rent in Palo Alto, please memail me.)

That said, I think the overall net effect this has on San Francisco's housing crisis is minimal.
posted by dogwalker at 1:07 PM on July 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


oh yeah there has been a ton of housing built south of market in the last 10 or 15 years so just because many of the districts retain low density housing doesn't mean either that the population is out of control or that there has been no housing added.

The growth over the past 30 years has come out to approximately 6.7k a year, in a city which, according to the articles from this thread, only has 2k units of housing made available a year.
posted by shmegegge at 1:09 PM on July 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Why do people suddenly care about lack of supply when AirBnB comes up? If we really cared about supply we'd relax a lot of zoning and building restrictions. And if we were really worried about apartments not being occupied by people living in the city, we'd target people (primarily foreign) using urban properties as vacant investments.

This whole demonizing AirBnB thing smacks of populist low-hanging fruit. I'd love to live in SF. I like the weather and I work in tech so it would be good for my career, but the housing market there is insane. And it's not because of AirBnB.
posted by melissam at 1:09 PM on July 14, 2015 [14 favorites]


Back of the envelope says just keeping up with birth rates requires some 6,000 units per year, never mind immigration into the city. However, construction has barely ever been more than half that, at its highest, in 20 years!

Soma adding a couple hundred units doesn't make a dent in that. Population is relatively flat because supply is relatively flat. But since supply is relatively flat, and demand is shooting up, prices are going sky high. It just so easy to hate on the latest class of newcomers to the city with their piles of internet moneys and cries of a bubble that it's easy to forget that it's the old guard, jealously blocking progress to keep sunlight falling in their particular patch of dirt over in Russian Hill that's stopping any significant new construction, sending prices through the roof.
posted by fragmede at 1:11 PM on July 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


Just wait until teleportation is invented. Then rich assholes will be everywhere, instantly.

I'd bet that the demographics of AirBnB users and Mefites would be extremely similar. I know that when we travel we never think of ourselves as "asshole tourists" (that's everyone else, of course) but, you know, the locals (other, perhaps, that those whose livelihoods depend on the tourist trade) sure as hell do.

To put it another way: the only people who have a right to was indignant about "asshole tourists" are those who refuse, as a matter of principle, ever to travel anywhere away from their homes for pleasure.
posted by yoink at 1:16 PM on July 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


To insinuate that San Francisco is some bastion of culture infested with commuters using it as a bedroom community (unlike somewhere where this is a real problem like Santa Cruz) is complete fucking madness.

I don't think it's as crazy as you make it out to be. The furor about the Google buses has died down, but if there are dozens of them rolling through the streets every workday, that's not nothing.

A lot of people live in SF because the mix of amenities (some cultural) is preferable to them than, say, San Jose, which as a legit bedroom community is barely solvent and can't even keep its fire stations stocked with trucks.
posted by psoas at 1:19 PM on July 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


My perception has always been that people choose to live in SF and shoulder the crazy rent because it's hipper/more scenic than, say, Sunnyvale.

Basically the entire Bay Area is scenic, other than maybe the frontage roads off 101 and the city dumps and railroad tracks and certain industrial parts of San Jose and Daly City and maybe the endless boring farmland south of Coyote Creek. So scenic isn't really the issue. The issues are cachet and hipness, and (psoas hit the nail on the head) amenities.
posted by blucevalo at 1:20 PM on July 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


The issues are cachet and hipness, and (psoas hit the nail on the head) amenities.

I'd say this is certainly true, but also believe that it's only part of the issue. As a resident of oakland, I'm tempted to leave it because going almost anywhere requires a car I don't want to own. I prefer to live in an area where there are actual things to do within walking or biking distance, and I'm finding it increasingly true that in Oakland those things are in limited supply without driving long-ish distances. The public transportation in Oakland is... ok... but not extensive. The city has been built around driving culture.

The same could be said for parts of SF, but most neighborhoods have a ton to do in and around the area, and the public transportation is better though it needs work.
posted by shmegegge at 1:29 PM on July 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


I know that when we travel we never think of ourselves as "asshole tourists" (that's everyone else, of course) but, you know, the locals (other, perhaps, that those whose livelihoods depend on the tourist trade) sure as hell do.

I dunno, I try to make it a point not to yell at people from a beer trolley/"pubcycle" or brews cruise, or to make obscene poses with local landmarks while my friends take pictures. I probably wouldn't film buskers without their permission, either. The sense of entitlement over the city, and pretty openly viewing the city as being there to entertain them, is what makes an asshole tourist an asshole.
posted by witchen at 1:30 PM on July 14, 2015 [12 favorites]


I am a long term experienced Airbnb hoster and to be honest, thank god I don´t live in San Francisco.

I love the fact there are people crawling out of the woodwork screaming that Airbnb is unfair and hurts housing stocks. The sad reality it that as with every other major city the money keeps rolling in and the property market is getting more and more expensive.

After living in SF in the early 90s, I just returned for a week last November and stayed in North Beach. Let´s see a 2bed rental in NorthBeach now goes for upwards of 4000 USD per month. You can scream and shout about a housing shortage and take away Airbnb, but lets face - you average joe schmoe driving for Uber or working at MickeyDees sure as hell doesn´t have a pray.

The other part of this is simple. And this is where I feel homeowners are unfairly targeted. If I bought the property and own it - who the fuck are you to tell me that I can´t rent it out to whoever the fuck I want. If it is illegally rented I do understand it can run against the rules - but my house my rules.

Last, SF like many other cities shot itself in the foot. Many people don´t talk about the fact that from the 1960s to the mid 1990s, SF city (along with some state money) would build afforable housing in every district/neighborhood. It was a model that worked and ensured that those most in need of housing would have it. Guess what? They stopped that and private investment now is the God they serve. Idiots.
posted by Funmonkey1 at 1:53 PM on July 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


I dunno, I try to make it a point not to yell at people from a beer trolley/"pubcycle" or brews cruise, or to make obscene poses with local landmarks while my friends take pictures. I probably wouldn't film buskers without their permission, either. The sense of entitlement over the city, and pretty openly viewing the city as being there to entertain them, is what makes an asshole tourist an asshole.

I was addressing the standard which had been deployed in this thread, which was simply "being in town and wanting a room to sleep in."
posted by yoink at 1:56 PM on July 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's fascinating how some cities simply choose to strangle themselves. SF could build more housing, and chooses not to. London could avoid being a giant safety-deposit box, but chooses not to.

Plenty of people complain about this, but on the whole the population seems A-OK with this state of affairs, so presumably they enjoy the strangling sensation.
posted by aramaic at 2:08 PM on July 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


If I bought the property and own it - who the fuck are you to tell me that I can´t rent it out to whoever the fuck I want. If it is illegally rented I do understand it can run against the rules - but my house my rules.

Same sources that tell you how big your house can be, what fixtures you can put in it, how much parking (if any) is required to be provided, and where it can be located - the building and municipal codes.
posted by LionIndex at 2:14 PM on July 14, 2015 [26 favorites]


If I bought the property and own it - who the fuck are you to tell me that I can´t rent it out to whoever the fuck I want. If it is illegally rented I do understand it can run against the rules - but my house my rules.

So which is it? Can it be illegal to rent something, or can you rent it out to whoever the fuck you want?
posted by Etrigan at 2:15 PM on July 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


If we really cared about supply we'd relax a lot of zoning and building restrictions.

Doesn't help as much as we'd hope, since the costs of building a moderately-priced apartment building and a luxury-priced apartment building aren't very different -- but the rent you can get out of those luxury apartments is much higher.

Denver has a ton of new high-rise apartment buildings going up, but they're all either luxury units or reserved as income-limited affordable housing. If you don't make enough to afford luxury and don't make so little that you qualify for the income-restricted units (and can make it through the waiting lists and application process for that), you're increasingly out of luck.

There's currently no incentive at all for developers to aim for the middle of the market when they could get the high end. Rents don't decrease in these new buildings over the years, and they drag up the market rate so that older buildings charge more every year without any increase in amenities. As rents increase, renters' ability to save for purchasing a home is reduced, all while real estate purchase prices are also skyrocketing.

AirBNB's effect (and that of other short-term rentals) on all this isn't nonexistent, but it's tiny compared to the existing clusterfuck of market forces. I'll be happy if cities at least all get their acts together enough to require things like fire exit info to be posted inside the doors of short-term rentals along with plentiful emergency contact info for both visitors and neighbors. That's cheap enough that it should already be happening (but isn't everywhere) and could save lives.
posted by asperity at 2:22 PM on July 14, 2015 [10 favorites]


Actually the problem is that the local cities that are actually near the tech companies, cites like Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto and the like, refuse to construct housing for the tech workers. They like the increasing property values and also insist that the cities maintain their carefully sculpted single-family dwelling appearance. And so they foist the workers who enable this boom onto cites like San Francisco,

So it's not solely the suburbs' fault - everyone refuses to densify residential housing in the SF Bay Area. Absolutely Mountain View is at fault, but for exactly the same reasons as SF. They like things the way they are. Existing home owners and real estate agents have a vested interest in rising housing prices. Landlords love it. And city planners don't want to rock the boat.

Basically everyone loves the growth but they sure don't want any more of it.
posted by GuyZero at 2:24 PM on July 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Also, if AirBnB is so terrible just zone more hotels to be built. Because hotel rooms are just like rentals in SF, there's usually more demand than supply.
posted by GuyZero at 2:25 PM on July 14, 2015


There's currently no incentive at all for developers to aim for the middle of the market when they could get the high end.

I also think part of the issue in cities like SF is that between land costs and development regulations, there's no way for developers to make any money on building housing except for building luxury units. San Diego isn't as bad as SF yet, but if you build an apartment building, you're required to provide 1.5 parking spaces per one bedroom unit, and 2.25 for a 2 bedroom. If you're looking to build a 4-story apartment block on top of a parking garage (basically the largest building you can do with wood construction, i.e. cheapest cost per unit), that ends up being a lot of parking, which takes up a lot of space, and ends up capping the amount of units you can build, either through space limitations or budget limitations on how deep you want to build your basement garage. Additionally, there are all sorts of requirements in SD for exterior space and storage per unit - so, if you're looking to build a block of 2-bedroom units, for each unit you build you're also looking at something like 800 square feet of non-apartment space that you're building, not even counting building services like elevators, mechanical rooms, and service shafts. That's basically a whole nother apartment taking up space and eating into your budget.

It would be great if transit systems were developed enough in California that you could do away with or lessen the parking regulations. Until people actually prefer taking transit to driving, getting rid of the parking requirements will just make things horrible.
posted by LionIndex at 2:38 PM on July 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


My rent, in the Peninsula (south of SF) went up $1,000 this month. Since Facebook moved nearby, we are now paying 3 times what we were 3 years ago, for a smaller space. I don't understand how anyone can afford it, we are biding our time and hanging on for now, but it's getting near impossible to afford living here anymore. I don't know where the money comes from to pay $6,000/month...maybe I'm in the wrong line of work.
posted by Chuffy at 2:52 PM on July 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


This story, for all its data, is nevertheless incomplete. It's like a PhD in AirBNB-type ventures, without looking at the bigger picture to see if other factors might be impacting the housing situation.

In 2012-2013, my partner and I tried to buy a (currently still unoccupied, as of this past Sunday) building near Market and Church to turn it into a four unit affordable housing block with a leasable business space at the ground level. My partner does this sort of thing for a living for Great Big Commercial Property Company, and we've been talking about LGBT+ senior housing for a long time. That experience? Yeah, it was a nightmare from start to finish. The litany of reasons that turned this very realistic dream into a nightmare are rarely brought up in articles that seem to want to start with the premise that short term rentals are killing San Francisco. They include:

-Property owners who have no legal force compelling them to maintain or occupy buildings, even if they're already zoned for mixed use.
-Property owners who wish to keep vacant properties vacant for as long as possible, to maximize the potential of selling the property for maximum value without having to deal with evictions.
-Business districts that expect to exert a huge amount of control over the design and planning of a property's rehabilitation.
-A board of supes that have the same expectations.
-A planning department with the same expectations, and the power to delay crucial steps in the inspection and issuance of permits.
-A department of public works that is overwhelmed and likewise capable of delaying crucial steps in the inspection and issuance of permits.

The nutshell of our experience was: this is not a city where I would ever consider going into business, and that includes going into business to make affordable housing. Only the big power players have the time and resources to do this sort of thing anymore, and that means we're going to be stuck with luxury units that include the mandated minimum number of affordable housing. That's it, that's our housing hope for the foreseeable future. No small developer has access to the corporate purse and city infrastructure influence to do anything but pour money into a black hole of hope that this time it'll be different.

Until something changes on those terms, this whole "AirBNB did it" thing will continue to make me roll my eyes. As cynical as I want to be about AirBNB as a company, this snippet rings true:

“Data scrapes are unfairly used to draw specific — often negative — conclusions about a small subset of our host community,” he said, “when the reality is the vast majority are middle-class families sharing the home in which they live.”

I have a hard time being upset at anyone renting out their place while they're out of town or even in town but seeking extra income. I have no problem separating them from the "super hosts [who] account for 4.8 percent of all hosts, but control 993 properties — 18.2 percent of Airbnb’s local listings." There's a gulf between those two groups, and I wonder if Lee's enforcement office will actually target those 4.8% preferentially, instead of the remaining 95% of the site's users.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 2:56 PM on July 14, 2015 [27 favorites]


So now what? Do you complain about rents all day while still stubbornly supporting every initiative to prevent large scale building? Or do you acknowledge that the area has to change and allow it to change in a way that keeps people living there affordably?

Be careful what you ask for. In Seattle, new construction does little for affordability. New housing is targeted to high-income earners and raises the median house price. Upcoming backroom changes to building codes and zoning policies are made to benefit developers and will continue to make existing problems worse. The more of this I see, the more it seems that Airbnb is just a symptom of the larger problem of handing over government to moneyed interests.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 3:04 PM on July 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


Parking variances are one of the easiest things to justify to a zoning board, though. While the numbers for off-street parking requirements were mostly formed from thin air and bullshit, many cities will relax them on request. Even SF will revisit them if they're asked (from a quick search -- I don't know much about how common it is there.) In any case, it's not as firm a rule as you'd think just reading the ordinances. Thank goodness.

This is not to say that city ordinances with overly-high parking requirements don't have a horrible effect on city development and public life and oughtn't to be fought. Just that I don't give developers a pass because they're not motivated to ask for parking variances when they'll ask for variances on literally everything else ever.

Relaxed parking requirements aren't even usually noticeable unless the developers screw up and really overdo it -- I've seen this happen with grocery stores (duh, people drive to the grocery store who may not drive anywhere else at all, especially when it's a fancy grocery store people will travel to) and apartment complexes. I'm familiar with a college-town apartment complex that was granted a total waiver on parking, arguing that all their residents would bicycle everywhere -- and they probably did bike more than average, but they were also sure as hell parking on nearby streets and annoying the neighbors.
posted by asperity at 3:06 PM on July 14, 2015


Actually the problem is that the local cities that are actually near the tech companies, cites like Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto and the like, refuse to construct housing for the tech workers.

Actually...Just today, in my neck of the woods in Santa Clara/North San Jose, I drove past two apartment construction sites and one gigantic corporate one (Samsung). And there were other developments, but I had no idea what was being built yet. My old commute to work took me past multiple rezoned sites in Milpitas that now have cramped housing developments.

If you don't mind living in a less hip part of the Bay, there's plenty of housing. But most of it's somewhat cramped and crowded, and all of it is expensive. The developers are purposely including plenty of cachet in these new constructions to keep the prices up -- fancy amenities, "unique" community features, contemporary design, etc., and they're cramming more units into each building than ever. We're living in a decently sized/priced place, but rent keeps rising every year and we can't even find a new place without making a big sacrifice on square footage or price. But in a couple of years we're going to have plenty of tiny, overpriced apartments to choose from! Hooray!
posted by phatkitten at 3:25 PM on July 14, 2015


Parking requirements are actually not to blame in San Francisco. Or rather, they are to blame for an opposite set of problems. The City of San Francisco limits parking to 7% of a downtown building’s floor area - which means the high-rise going up just down the street is forced to not have enough parking for its residents, which means I can give up on street parking around here. Instead of being bitter about that particular aspect, I'm hopeful that the influx of people means a more vibrant city around me.
posted by fragmede at 3:26 PM on July 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


While the numbers for off-street parking requirements were mostly formed from thin air and bullshit, many cities will relax them on request. Even SF will revisit them if they're asked (from a quick search -- I don't know much about how common it is there.) In any case, it's not as firm a rule as you'd think just reading the ordinances. Thank goodness.

SF, as a general rule, doesn't relax residential parking rules. I do see this happen on occasion, but never in the special use districts. We live in one of those districts, and the person who sold us his house told us that he'd tried to get permission to add a bedroom into the tiny attic (the whole house is 600 square feet) but the city told him this would be impossible because there's no room to add additional parking.

SF is weird.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 3:27 PM on July 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


As a person who travels with their kid, I've developed a special kind of hatred toward AirBnB and the utterly unregulated "sharing economy."

Every* time I honestly describe in the requisite request that "my wife and daughter and I will be staying at your fine/lovely home for rent", the AirBnB host has declined to let us stay. It would generally be illegal for a hotel, actual BnB or just about any other form of housing and lodging to discriminate in this manner, but for the sharing economy, discrimination** is built into the model.

( **And this is with my lilly-white face on the profile pic. I cannot even begin to imagine how much harder it would be were that not so. )
posted by atomo at 3:42 PM on July 14, 2015 [24 favorites]


The other part of this is simple. And this is where I feel homeowners are unfairly targeted. If I bought the property and own it - who the fuck are you to tell me that I can´t rent it out to whoever the fuck I want.

Who are you to tell me I can't pay my workers $1.25 an hour? Who are you to tell me I can't refuse to rent to minorities? Who are you to tell me I can't have 12 year olds working 60 hour weeks?

Society and the law, that's who.
posted by Justinian at 3:46 PM on July 14, 2015 [17 favorites]


Letting someone stay in your house in exchange for money is obviously in the same moral category as child labor, racial discrimination, or impoverishing wages?

Maybe that's actually true, but it is not readily apparent and it's disingenuous to make it sound like it is.
posted by 0xFCAF at 3:52 PM on July 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


That's not how this works? The point is we make laws about labor and business conditions all the time?
posted by Justinian at 4:08 PM on July 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Doesn't help as much as we'd hope, since the costs of building a moderately-priced apartment building and a luxury-priced apartment building aren't very different -- but the rent you can get out of those luxury apartments is much higher.

You're right, but it's important to note something:

You can't build luxury apartments profitably once the luxury tenants all have the apartments they want. Luxury apartment building is a symptom of the housing crisis, not its cause. Building the luxury apartments first is an unfortunate inevitability, but it's also the beginning of what should be a much longer process that results in a wider range of housing prices and rents. Sure, the bay area is getting luxury housing built right now, and for the reasons you mention. But you can't just build 1,000,000 $6000/month apartments when there are only so many people who make upwards of $480k/yr. (I picked that number because that's 6k x 80, and I'm increasingly hearing that apartments are insisting on a yearly income that's 80 times the monthly rent in order to approve an application to rent. That, by the way, is another symptom of the problem.) At some point real estate developers need to build apartments for the actual renting market, and when there're enough luxury apartments built, the market becomes lower income renters. Right now, the housing crisis is causing luxury apartments to be the only viable construction, not the other way around.

Which brings me to the best comment in the entire thread. The whole process here is set up to make building and renting achievable for huge corporate renters, not smaller groups with an interest in affordable housing. That is precisely what needs to change, and focusing on other things is, to my mind, a distraction from the real problem.
posted by shmegegge at 4:11 PM on July 14, 2015 [14 favorites]


I just mentioned parking requirements are just one example of a local reg that can seriously affect development costs, because it was familiar to me from working and living in San Diego. I lived in a number of places there that would not be feasible now just because of the parking requirement, and there were whole neighborhoods that I lived in where every rental property was pretty similar, but they were built when a streetcar was only half a block away. SF may have other things that drive up the cost to where the only viable residential development is on the high end of the market.
posted by LionIndex at 4:12 PM on July 14, 2015


The point still stands that deed to your house doesn't grant you absolute power within the four walls. Minimum wage is actually a good example, as many governments outside of the US don't even have a minimum wage, even among left-leaning European countries.
posted by fragmede at 4:13 PM on July 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


I feel so conflicted about AirBNB living in the bay. Their folksy, cute copy writing drives me crazy when everything they do is so fucking awful. They don't pay taxes, they purposefully circumvent the law, they do astroturfing in the worst and most obvious way possible, & they design their platform to favor the "landlord turning apartments into hotels" and then turn around and claim they don't want those people (when they so fucking do) and it's all just Regular Jane Schoolteacher making a few extra bucks. I wish they would just own up to the obvious downsides to their platform, or at least stop this goddamn "sharing" and "community" nonsense.

On the other hand I'm self employed, live alone, and renting my unused apartment a week or two a year is the only way I can afford a vacation. And my idea of a vacation is sleeping in the woods and not seeing a shower for a month.

I don't doubt that AirBNB is negatively affecting rents (what isn't? the list of reasons the bay areas rent is high is endless). It's so obvious which listings are run by landlords skirting the law, and people actually just renting an extra room or trying to buy a plane ticket for their trip. If they wanted to be the good neighbors their copywriters so desperately try to portray them as they could easily do this (and collect the appropriate taxes).

Every* time I honestly describe in the requisite request that "my wife and daughter and I will be staying at your fine/lovely home for rent", the AirBnB host has declined to let us stay.

AirBNB hates this by the way. They want you to accept every request, like a hotel. I am ultra picky about who I rent to, since the only time I do it is when I'm out of town myself so I obviously need to be slightly selective, and AirBNB will drastically penalize you for rejecting too many requests. I care more about my neighbors that I have to live with than I do about internet strangers so I basically only rent to people who are professionals in town for work, people relocating to my hood, families, or couples who seem like they are not in town to party. Some of the requests I get are so ridiculous, no wonder you hear horror stories in the news about guests trashing places (Recently memorable: A girl with zero reviews or refernces "Hi I'm turning 21 and want to stay at your place with my 6 friends and go out on the town" NO NO NO DECLINE DECLINE).
posted by bradbane at 4:20 PM on July 14, 2015 [13 favorites]


Back of the envelope says just keeping up with birth rates requires some 6,000 units per year

This assumes that anyone with kids can afford a family-sized apartment in SF. Unless both work at Google, have rent control, or one of them is named Hearst or Mayer, they moved out.
posted by zippy at 5:49 PM on July 14, 2015


I think the impact of AirBNB on the housing market is probably minor when compared to the distortions created by the total clusterfuck that is the bay area real estate market. 100 Acres for Apple's new Spaceship Campus for 12,000+ workers and Cupertino isn't requried to increase housing stock or density. They stay a small town.
posted by humanfont at 5:57 PM on July 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


To insinuate that San Francisco is some bastion of culture infested with commuters using it as a bedroom community (unlike somewhere where this is a real problem like Santa Cruz) is complete fucking madness.

Analysis of Google et al busses from SF to the South Bay: At a rough estimate, these shuttles transport about 35% of the amount of passengers Caltrain moves each day.
posted by zippy at 6:00 PM on July 14, 2015 [8 favorites]


I think the impact of AirBNB on the housing market is probably minor when compared to the distortions created by the total clusterfuck that is the bay area real estate market.

Absolutely. Though I will say that when I moved back to the Bay Area a couple of years ago from the East Coast, my former apartment had turned into an Airbnb rental, and my former landlord wouldn't rent it to me again, despite my desperate pleas when it took me literally months to find something else. When the market gets as tight as it has, every potentially available apartment does matter. That said, I'm not anti-Airbnb. I just think we need to build more housing, and/or more of us need to choose to live somewhere else. I'm close to making that decision myself.
posted by three_red_balloons at 6:12 PM on July 14, 2015


I am an AirBnb host.

I use AirBnb exactly for the purpose they claim - it helps me make my ends meet and enabled me to find a new (awesome) job without feeling trapped. It supplements my income and gives me freedom to travel, and renovate my place for the better - win/win for everyone.

That said, I do deny folks for whom my place is either not a good fit (and unfortunately, kids are not a good fit in a place full of vintage furniture and glossy surfaces). Or just simply those who obviously intend to party and don't want the oversight of a hotel. (I've gotten nearly identical requests to bradbane's, yikes).

If you're getting high rejection rates, filter to family friendly places, and explain how you'll be taking care of the place when you stay there. I have had families stay at my place on some specific occasions. If you have no reviews, a lot will hinge on how articulate you are in your introduction message.

I use AirBnb as a traveller too and love it tremendously. There are absolute gems around the world that are so much better than a hotel - privacy! Coffee on hand! Beautiful design! Personalized recommendations!

I think it's a great service. But, I'm not in the Bay area, so it's not as much of a problem (for now?) where I am (Toronto).
posted by olya at 6:40 PM on July 14, 2015


> have rent control

Roughly 75% of the city's housing is under rent control, so it's a realistic assumption. The point is 6k/yr is a bare minimum, but the city has been far short of even that number for more than 20 years.

If San Francisco politics were not so deadlocked, and had been adding, say, 10k units/yr for the past 20 years, we'd be having a different conversation, in very different city.

Before we can have that conversation though, first we gotta build luxury condos then we gotta keep building. Given that we're not interested in adding land by filling in the bay, we gotta tear down old buildings in order to make space.

So either it becomes acceptable to blow up old buildings to make room for the new, or San Francisco further stagnates into a playground for the adult children of the rich.
posted by fragmede at 6:54 PM on July 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


At some point real estate developers need to build apartments for the actual renting market, and when there're enough luxury apartments built, the market becomes lower income renters.

I want to believe that, and I want to believe it will happen on a time scale that's useful to people currently alive. But there's massive population growth here at the moment, more than enough to soak up this housing, and I fear that once we've got a sufficiently overpriced housing supply it'll just start looking great for random nonresident investors to park money in these buildings. And that's where we get the AirBNB-ish effect of housing stock being absorbed by people who don't actually live in it.
posted by asperity at 8:51 PM on July 14, 2015


I don't believe that the market is incentivized to provide adequate housing for anyone but the rich. I believe the current situation — inadequate, overpriced housing for most, really great housing for a few — is the most profitable configuration for the people who actually matter in this debate.

I mean this is basically just a hunch; I'm willing to entertain data that argues that markets can provide adequate urban housing. The thing that got me thinking about this was this comment from four panels about (of all things) 19th century French railway service. Although property holders and developers of scarce urban land don't have a monopoly, not exactly, I don't think that the presence of monopolies is necessary for this effect to come into play.

Again, I'm eager to see data on how markets have successfully provided housing; I just wanted to point out that there is an underlying assumption at play in this thread, the assumption that the market can provide adequate housing.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:03 PM on July 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


So either it becomes acceptable to blow up old buildings to make room for the new, or San Francisco further stagnates into a playground for the adult children of the rich.

It's not a binary decision to either blow up the Painted Ladies or live with the status quo. There are plenty of shitty buildings and areas that would be improved by a high rise, but those are long term planning decisions that take decades. We actually need a Bay Area-wide development plan but good luck with that (Palo Alto can shut down pretty much anything).
posted by benzenedream at 11:11 PM on July 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


At a rough estimate, these shuttles transport about 35% of the amount of passengers Caltrain moves each day.

Take that with a grain of salt please; “back of the envelope” doesn’t even begin to describe the analysis we did on this art project from 2012. It was designed to give a sense of scale, not a statistically significant number.
posted by migurski at 11:16 PM on July 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


If San Francisco politics were not so deadlocked, and had been adding, say, 10k units/yr for the past 20 years, we'd be having a different conversation, in very different city.

Yeah, but then consider- that would be 200k units, adding what, 400,000 people to a city of 837,000? Consider what that would do to the skyline, the character of the- oh hell never mind that nonsense- consider what effect that level of crowding would have on an already crowded city. Consider the goddamn infrastructure!

Bottom line-you're asking the impossible. San Francisco can't handle that level of growth.

And why is it always "San Francisco needs to add so many units"? What about the rest of the bay area? Why isn't Los Gatos or Palo Alto or Mountain View beeing asked to absorb a couple thousand rental units? Look at what the other bay area cities are doing.
posted by happyroach at 12:34 AM on July 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Consider the goddamn infrastructure!

I agree with you. But the unavoidable corollary is that vastly more people want to live in San Francisco than there is or will reasonably be space for in the near future, and so there is no way that prices won't remain absurdly high.

No land + everyone wants to live there = $$$$
posted by Justinian at 3:03 AM on July 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I live in an outer city that is doing what people want SF's neighbors to do -- developing like crazy. We have something like 2700 units being constructed or proposed right now, primarily luxury apartments, in a city of ~40K households (so a big number, relative to current population).

The problem is that the T line through town is already over capacity -- I can't see how we can add 5,000 residents without adding train capacity. But even the larger projects are maybe 120-500 units, so no individual project has to grapple with the issue of adding transit capacity.

At some point real estate developers need to build apartments for the actual renting market, and when there're enough luxury apartments built, the market becomes lower income renters.

You'd hope so, but in my experience developments are more likely to stall out when the luxury market turns -- that's part of why my city went from 0 units in the pipeline to 2,700 units in the pipeline. Construction stalled on several projects during the downturn. Some of the stuff that was mostly finished already got completed and turned into rentals, but multiple half-built luxury projects just sat there.

I visited a 20-unit condo building in Brooklyn a couple years ago that was literally abandoned by the developers after the crash -- almost finished, but they hadn't been able to sell the units. The building had developed hundreds of thousands of dollars of water damage because the business decision was to leave the building empty and leaking for several years instead of finishing and renting the units. In Brooklyn. Right next to the subway.

Moreover, the luxury projects currently on the books in my town take up most of the easy-target land in town. There's some redevelopment openings left, of course, but most are in old industrial areas and would require extensive remediation before residential use would be possible.

I think what actually happens in our area, instead of developers building middle-class housing (as opposed to the current oodles of "luxury" and a small pittance of "affordable"), is that older "luxury" projects from the 1970s-1990s get aged out of the high-end "luxury" market and drop into a somewhat-more-affordable but still kind of crappy range.
posted by pie ninja at 5:28 AM on July 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


As someone who manages property in a high tourist / party area, I loathe air bnb. Due to some horrifying experiences with illegal sublets from tenants who rented out their entire unit to people who simply did not care about anything to do with exercising common decency (holes in walls, doors, etc.) or the other tenants (parties, literally to 4-5am) coupled with law enforcement's inability to do anything about these trespassers (it's a civil matter), we have folded in an addendum to the standard lease forbidding any sublet or advertisement for a sublet, under grounds of immediate eviction, and have it listed as an uncurable violation of the lease with a 3-day window to vacate the apartment.

Not to mention that it's illegal in my area, but code enforcement doesn't pursue the tenant. If an illegal short term rental is discovered, they fine the landlord regardless of knowledge, and leave it to them to pursue damages against the tenant in court.
posted by Debaser626 at 9:51 AM on July 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


I have no opinion on the AirBnB side of the debate but I've lived in the South Bay for three years; the housing market down here is likewise insane. Local studio apartments run ~1800 plus and you don't get down into reasonable rates until you're an hour out of town or looking at illegal sublets. Cheapest legit housing I see is a "Hotel-style studio" for $1250 a month with a shared kitchen.
posted by caphector at 11:33 AM on July 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Building a hypothetical 10k units/year for 20 years would take a hypothetical, uh, 20 years. 20 years is long enough for significant infrastructure improvements. Boston's Big Dig took roughly that long. We could finish the subway from Civic Center to Chinatown and continue on down to Dogpatch and more in that time.

The situation on demolition in order to make way for new construction is binary, because that's the current status quo. In order to get permits to build new construction, considering that all the land is taken, means that in order to build a new building, an old one has to go. If you're very lucky, you'll find a decrepit warehouse with a landlord that's willing to sell (in Soma or Mission Bay, no less), and you can go and fight city hall, and if you're lucky a second time, the city will let you tear out and put in SOMETHING.

Unfortunately, that's precisely the kind of up-hill battle that has led to this situation, because only the most dedicated developers have the resources to stomach that kind of fight with city hall. The city has never prohibited construction, as the graph I linked upthread attests to. But if you look closer at who actually has the stomach to fight city hall tooth and nail just to build a building, only the most dedicated and wealthy (sometimes corporate) developers who want to "maximize their return" can afford to hire someone to make it their full time job to make it their fight, so when they finally do get permits, it's for a 15-story luxury high-rise, because they can afford to.

Smaller developers don't have those resources. They may already own the building, and thus the land it's on, and want to develop that. Unfortunately, that's not a "shitty building" so all they can do is just sit on it and charge "market rate". No one should shed a tear for them, but you shouldn't be surprised when the only thing going up are luxury condos when that's the only thing people can afford to build.
posted by fragmede at 11:43 AM on July 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, but then consider- that would be 200k units, adding what, 400,000 people to a city of 837,000? Consider what that would do to the skyline, the character of the- oh hell never mind that nonsense- consider what effect that level of crowding would have on an already crowded city. Consider the goddamn infrastructure!

I've never really bought this objection -- that SF is too crowded. Currently SF is about 7,000/km2 -- pretty dense for the US, but much less dense than Paris (20,000/km2) or Barcelona (16,000/km2). It's even less dense than Queens (8,237/km2)! If you added 400,000 people you would get a density of ~10,000/km2 -- sure, denser, but still less than all of NYC.
posted by crazy with stars at 12:48 PM on July 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't think the argument is that such a density is inherently unsustainable, it's that the infrastructure which was built for SF can't sustain it. That infrastructure can be upgraded and replaced, yes, but it will be a long and expensive process.
posted by Justinian at 12:56 PM on July 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


So either it becomes acceptable to blow up old buildings to make room for the new, or San Francisco further stagnates into a playground for the adult children of the rich.

There's a third, proven way. Santa Monica has a lot in common with San Francisco in terms of size, limited space, demographics, tech jobs, and desirability/livability. But in addition to the city's HUD/Sec 8 units and senior/disabled buildings, the non-profit Community Corporation of Santa Monica* buys up existing stock and converts them to true, means-tested, Sec 8-eligible housing. (Not to be confused with the "affordable" units tied to development deals.) They also work with the city to build new units. The stock (~2000 units) is all over the city [PDF], not segregated to the furthest borders, so you have affordable housing right next to apartments that cost $3K/month. New housing construction is exclusively dedicated to multi-bedroom apartments for families. (I think the definition of family is flexible but includes 2+ people.)

But what really makes this work is that the city of Santa Monica doesn't think of affordable housing as just a logistical or altruistic problem to solve, it believes that this makes us a better city: it makes us more diverse, boosts the local economy, it reduces the number of cars that need to drive in and out which reduces traffic and helps the environment, and again, people are a more invested part of the community.

So there is more to consider than numbers; to solve this you need to consider people. Can service workers live where they work? Are the people bussing tables and cleaning offices able to live where they work? Are their kids able to take advantage of the schools? And if not, are we, as a society, really ok with this? It's like illegal immigration in way because we need people inside the borders to do all the jobs the wealthy won't do but once they clock out, well, so what? Who cares where they live? Who cares if it takes your nanny three busses and 90 minutes one way to get to your house in the city?

Roughly 75% of the city's housing is under rent control

That's a lot. So this isn't just about taking units off the market, it's about preventing people from being able to find secure housing that they can budget for and count on going forward**. Additionally, rent-controlled units often come with other protections against legal evictions, etc. It keeps people invested in their neighborhoods, and that has an enormous impact on all kinds of quality-of-life issues. Airbnb helps landlords to circumvent those rent control laws.

Airbnb may not be the root of SFs housing crisis, or the cause, or even a significant portion of the problem. But from what I've seen the original concept has gone completey off the rails, and I think it's causing more harm than good. That doesn't mean individuals shouldn't be able to continue renting a spare room or house occasionally but I think Airbnb needs to be reeled back in, and hard. (Here's my FPP about Santa Monica's recent Airbnb ban.)

That our government representatives are ready to cede entire cities to the extremely wealthy is so gross to me. I think people should stop asking them how they can do it and start asking them when they will do it. Can you imagine the goodwill a Google or a Larry Ellison could reap if they helped seed a program similar to CCSM? Or one that helps individuals like late afternoon dreaming hotel with tax breaks and financing? And can you imagine city officials publicly declining the offer?

* One nice benefit about CCSM's rental policy is that is devoid of the rampant corruption that plagues Sec. 8 housing lists.

**I think it's okay to revisit some of the local rent control laws, like maybe a slight percentage bump every seven years or something. It must be extremely frustrating for landlords in burgeoning areas to see rents going for 2K+when you've got tenants who are paying $575 because they moved in a decade ago when the neighborhood was shit. Maybe it would prevent the kind of tenant harassment that some long-time renters here are facing while also addressing the Airbnb problem.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:20 PM on July 15, 2015 [9 favorites]


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