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Have Happy Tenants for Days, not Assholes for Decades

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Rent this attractive apartment in Pacific Heights via Airbnb

Who are all these shivering people with maps? Why, they're tourists. And according to the BayCitizen, their accommodation arrangements may become an issue in San Francisco's endless debate about housing. Of course, it comes down to money. Why rent to a pesky long-term tenant when that empty apartment can command a few hundred bucks a day? It's actually illegal, although the law is apparently badly-framed and rarely enforced. Probably because in the past, it seemed like a fairly benign issue. But like tumors, it's gotten bigger- today there are 305 temporary vacation listings on Craigslist. some of them are quite smart while others look like unwarranted in-law units. And then there's the truth-in-advertising issue- this allegedly Stylish Two Bedroom Flat in San Francisco's Awesome Views!!! turns out to be a one-bedroom with a sleeper in the living room and the views are from Alamo Square two blocks away. It may be only a $100 a night, but even if rented 200 nights a year, that's $20K, far more than the owner would extract from a tenant. To quote the email we got this morning from a landlady: someone who has a vacation rental place, i have to agree that i make a lot more money. and i don't have to deal with asshole tenants covered by rent control or tenants rights.
Craigslist is the generic source online. More stylish and organized is Airbnb, who's motto is Travel Like a Human, with 808 listings including a single room in a neighborhood we've never heard of- The Transmission! for $89 a night. San Francisco enjoys collecting a 14% tax on these rentals, although we couldn't find any owners who mention the tax in their rates, and the city admits it doesn't have a database of short-term rentals. We'd probably side with the landlords if we thought they were paying the 14% tax.
· Vacation Apartment Rentals: Lucrative and Largely Illegal [BayCitizen]
· San Francisco Vacation Rentals [Craigslist]
· San Francisco Listings [Airbnb]