For nearly eight hours last week, residents of San Francisco’s Mission district stood in line and begged for a chance to save their neighbourhood from the wave of tech-gentrification they believe is pricing them out.
In the end, the Board of Supervisors failed to approve a 45-day moratorium that would have paused development of new, high-priced apartments and condos in the Mission.
The city’s Board took up another set of highly-charged housing concerns on Tuesday: what to do about short term rentals, such as those popularised by online service Airbnb.
This time, the city ended up punting for a month.
San Francisco is the country’s center of innovation, but it is completely stalled over how to handle its housing crisis. Even at a small level, the city is still unsure how to regulate short-term rentals. The planning department deemed last fall’s legislation a failure and unenforceable. Of the thousands of units available to rent on Airbnb, only 282 have successfully registered with the city as of May 1.
In the Mission neighbourhood where I live, I personally budget seven parking tickets a month instead of paying for a parking space — not that I can find one on Craigslist anyway. The waitlist for the garage behind my house is a year-and-half for the $US350-a-month spots. The murals down the street from me include an eviction map. How’s that for culture.
Would a decision from the Board of Supervisors today have meant fewer purple dots on the eviction mural? Maybe, maybe not.
Mayor Ed Lee has vowed to pour an additional $US50 million to buy Mission land for affordable housing — that’s if it passed on the November ballot.
Of Tuesday’s two proposals that the city opted not to vote on just yet, one proposal from the Mayor’s office puts the cap at 120 days a year for short term rentals and another option set forward by Supervisor David Campos was to limit short term rentals to a max of 60 days a year and compels Airbnb to release its data to the city.
The city’s own reports on the effects of short term rentals on the housing market are conflicting, and Airbnb has released has its own studies with its own calculations. The only fact that’s not up for debate is that rents are too high. We’ll have to wait until July 14 to see how the Board of Supervisors chooses to incrementally respond to it.