Airbnb blamed for crazy SF rental market
For the traveler seeking a value-priced, amenity packed place to stay in San Francisco, the private rental website airbnb is a Godsend – an alternative method to staying in an overpriced, potentially filthy hotel with thin walls and bad food, and instead shacking up in a private residence with great hospitality and all the comforts of home. It’s an even more palatable option for the short-term business traveler, who can further appreciate the convenience of kitchen access while on an extended stay.
But for the rest of us San Francisco renters, airbnb is getting tarred and feathered as one of the scapegoats behind of completely out-of-control, inflation-heavy, landlord-friendly, zero wiggle room rental market.
(A recent story in the Wall Street Journal reports that the average asking price for San Francisco rentals is now $2,663 a month, a 15.8% jump from $2,299 in the first quarter of 2011. Ouch.)
The reasoning behind the blame game for the short term stay website? All of the rentals listed are operating under the radar of the city of San Francisco – well, as under the radar as they can be while being listed on the internet. In other words, it’s not exactly legal to be renting out your apartment for $100 a night, or a space on your couch for $65, without paying the city any tax or holding a valid business license.
There’s certainly no inspections or permitting for these pop-up hotels (rent at your own risk, and watch out for bed bugs or worse, creeper lecherous “landlords”), and an even bigger issue is apartment leaseholders who have vacated their apartments to reside elsewhere, leaving behind a constant stream of “friends” who show up, stay a night or two and then head on home.
So the city, of course, is considering cracking down. We wish them best of luck. There will probably always be opportunity to rent out your SF place by the night – and for those of us looking for apartments, the search just gets that much harder.