TIME cities

San Franciscans Could Get Paid for Snitching on Airbnb Users

A planned ballot initiative would curb short-term rentals in San Francisco, and could reward people who report on neighbors who rent their homes out using sites like Airbnb

Prominent San Franciscans are backing a ballot initiative this fall that would harshly restrict the ability of home rental sites like Airbnb to operate in the city, partially through a tentative plan that would financially reward people for reporting hosts who break the rules.

The plan, spearheaded by a housing activist, public relations professional and a former city planning commissioner and slated for November, would restrict temporary rentals to neighborhoods with commercial zoning, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

The ballot initiative includes a mooted proposal to reward people for reporting neighbors who break the rules, allotting 30% of any fine and back taxes that result from a complaint about a short-term rental — though it’s unclear that language will be in the actual bill.

The new initiative comes amidst an increasing push in the city to regulate companies such as Airbnb. With the city in the grip of a housing crisis that has seen rental prices rising at a record rate, officials are eager to prevent homeowners and tenants from leasing second or third apartments on a temporary basis.

San Francisco Supervisor David Chiu has already introduced a bill to legalize short-term rentals citywide, a proposal to which Airbnb has lent its tentative support. The company has already agreed to start remitting a 14-percent sales tax to the city, but opposes this latest ballot initiative.

“We want to work with everyone in San Francisco who cares about home-sharing, but this proposal would make it even harder for San Franciscans to make ends meet,” spokesman Nick Papas said in a statement.

[San Francisco Chronicle]

Tap to read full story

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com


Dear TIME Reader,

As a regular visitor to TIME.com, we are sure you enjoy all the great journalism created by our editors and reporters. Great journalism has great value, and it costs money to make it. One of the main ways we cover our costs is through advertising.

The use of software that blocks ads limits our ability to provide you with the journalism you enjoy. Consider turning your Ad Blocker off so that we can continue to provide the world class journalism you have become accustomed to.

The TIME Team