Airbnb hosts in California earned a staggering $2 billion in 2018, welcoming 9.5 million guests – with San Francisco hosts earning $12,000 per year on average in extra income.
So you are tempted to cash in on the short-term rental gravy train? Start out by going online and reviewing ‘San Francisco’s Short-Term Residential Starter Kit’ https://businessportal.sfgov.org/start/ starter-kits/short-term-rental.
All hosts must first register with the San Francisco Treasurer and Tax Collector https://sftreasurer.org/business/ register-business to obtain a Business Account Number (BAN)($95 per year). Next you will need to apply to the Office of Short-Term Rentals (OSTR) https:// shorttermrentals.sfgov.org/ for approval as a host ($450, renewable every two years). It is important to note that even after paying this collective and non-refundable $545 fee there is no guaranteed that you will be approved. If authorized, your short-term rental will be listed and tracked by the city in a registry made available to the public.
Only permanent residents of San Francisco are allowed to be short-term hosts. To be a permanent resident, you must reside in your unit for at least 275 nights per year. Absentee owners who live in San Francisco less than 275 days per year are not eligible to engage in shortterm rentals.
Permanent residents are allowed to rent out their primary residences, but not locations in which they don’t live, or second or vacation homes. An owner of a multi-unit building may only register and rent the specific residential unit in which he or she resides.
San Francisco’s short-term rental law limits rentals where the host is not present in the unit to a maximum of 90 days per year. Violators who continue to rent out their apartments beyond the 90 days are subject to significant fines ($484 for first offenders and up to $968 for repeat offenders). Hosted rentals, where the host IS present in the unit, are not subject to this limit.
Hosts are required to be covered by liability insurance with at least $500,000 in coverage. Hosting sites such as Airbnb automatically provides hosts with $1 million in coverage.
Buildings having any outstanding code complaints are not eligible for short term rental. You can search your address for confirmation of violations by logging on to the ‘San Francisco Property Information Map’ https://sfplanninggis.org/ PIM/ If you are a tenant in a multi-family apartment building, beware that once you register your unit to the Office of Short-Term Rentals the department will immediately send your landlord a letter notifying him/her of your intent to advertise your unit as a short-term rental, which is a violation of most leases and could be grounds for eviction. Keep in mind that short term rentals are not allowed in Single Room Occupancy (SROs), Dormitories, Public Housing, or on government properties such as The Presidio, Ft. Mason or Treasure Island.
If you are a tenant in a rent-controlled unit, your monthly revenue from hosting cannot exceed your monthly rent payment.
Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) aka “in-law” or “Granny flat” units do not qualify for short term rentals. ADU rentals require a minimum 30 days stay, and must be legally established.
For more detailed information on becoming a short-term rental host visit San Francisco Office of Short-Term rental website at https://shorttermrentals.sfgov.org/