Earlier this year, San Francisco City Hall received the grim news that less than 25 percent of Airbnbs in the city were operating legally.
In the eight months since watchdogs collected that data, the numbers have changed. Now, counting Airbnb and its competitors, the figure is only about 15 percent.
That’s according to Kevin Guy, head of the city’s Office of Short Term Rentals, who testified in front of the Government Audit and Oversight Commission on Thursday.
All told, about 1,700 hosts have registered, and about 2,250 more are in the works. That’s a big step up from the beginning of the year when we only had about 900 legally registered STR owners, but still just a fraction of the thousands of people operating on Airbnb alone.
Even though the city has leveled over $870,000 in fines over the past year, it seems as if most people don’t bother with the rules. Guy even noted that they’re working to bust people utilizing BMR units as illegal short term rentals.
Lest we be too hard on these scofflaws, Board of Supervisors President London Breed told Guy she’d spoken with a constituent who was busted for a non-compliant STR without realizing there even was a law in the first place.
Granted, ignorance of the law is no excuse. But Guy notes that most STR platforms aren’t exactly hopping to keep their customers abreast of regulation in every city.
“They’re not going to do anything unless they have to,” said D9 Supervisor David Campos. “That’s common sense. It took them a while to even come around on paying taxes.”