Housing

City agencies defend their slow response to Airbnb's illegal rentals

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More information has been coming out about how Airbnb is used to convert San Francisco apartments into tourist rentals — including an interesting study reported by the San Francisco Chronicle last weekend — in advance of next month’s hearings on legislation to legalize and regulate short-term rentals.

But questions remain about why the city agencies in charge of regulating such “tourist conversions,” which have long been illegal under city law, have done so little to crack down on the growing practice. For more than two years, we at the Guardian have been publicly highlighting such violations, which have finally caught fire with the public in the last six months. Read more »

Supervisors consider affordable housing half-step

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While the Board of Supervisors today considers placing a measure on the fall ballot that would slow market rate housing projects when affordable housing development drops below 30 percent of total production, it is also slated to quietly approve another item showing San Franciscans actually need more than double that amount of housing.Read more »

Shaw's "housing civil war" is really about influence peddling

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I’m always wary of the BeyondChron stories by Tenderloin power broker Randy Shaw, who uses the website as a propaganda tool for his interests and those of the politicians who he helped get into office, including Mayor Ed Lee and Sup. Jane Kim, as I wrote in last week’s paper.Read more »

Lawsuit claims SROs owned by city contractors are unsafe, moldy, rodent-infested

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It's often rumored that housing conditions in certain single-room occupancy hotels, or SROs, throughout San Francisco are atrocious. And when it comes to SROs under ownership of one family in particular, a lawsuit filed today by City Attorney Dennis Herrera now alleges not only that conditions are unhealthy and inhospitable – they’re also illegal.Read more »

The politics behind today's dueling Airbnb rallies

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Today’s dueling rallies at City Hall on whether to fully ban or fully allow the short-term rentals facilitated by Airbnb and other companies -- representing extreme positions on either side of the compromise legislation proposed by Sup. David Chiu -- seem to have as much to do with politics as policy.Read more »

Leno's Ellis Act reform bill clears first legislative hurdle

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Sen. Mark Leno’s Senate Bill 1439 — which would protect rent-controlled housing in San Francisco by amending the Ellis Act, including making property owners wait at least five years after buying a property to evict tenants under the act — cleared its first legislative hurdle today.

The Senate Transportation and Housing Committee passed the measure on a 6-4 vote, and it heads to the Senate Judiciary Committee next. The bill has strong support in San Francisco, from progressive constituencies through Mayor Ed Lee to support by leaders in the business community and tech world.Read more »

The sordid saga of Airbnb -- a $10 billion "outlaw middleman" -- continues

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SF-based Airbnb is making news again this week, from the San Francisco Chronicle following up our stories about how landlords are sending eviction notices to tenants who are breaking their leases and local laws in using the short-term rental services to Read more »

Seeking technology and economic/social justice columnists

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The Bay Guardian is looking for a pair of new freelance writers to do separate monthly columns covering the technology industry and economic/social justice issues. The two new columns would go into a rotation we’re tentatively calling Soul of the City, along with Jason Henderson’s Street Fight column and a new environmental column by News Editor Rebecca Bowe that we’ll debut in our Earth Day issue.Read more »

The unanswered question: How do we bridge SF's affordable housing gap?

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Nobody has a good answer to San Francisco’s most basic housing problem: How do we build the housing that existing city residents need? Read more »

Burning down the housing in San Francisco

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Yesterday’s massive fire that destroyed a 172-unit market-rate housing complex that was near completion in China Basin got plenty of attention in mainstream and social media outlets — and only a little speculation as to how this fits into San Francisco’s aggressive push for new housing and its charged political debates about gentrification and displacement.Read more »