The Berkeley City Council may finally pass some Short Term Rental (STR) laws on Tuesday, May 31. The problem for tenants is that city staff won’t enforce the existing ban on STRs until Council makes the new laws, yet the draft being contemplated by Berkeley repeats the mistakes that have caused problems for San Francisco, Portland and other cities with tight rental markets that are popular tourist destinations.
In May and June of 2015, several activists and tenants impacted by short term rentals in their building filed code enforcement complaints on behalf of BTU against some of the landlords who are listing multiple empty units on AirBnB and other websites.
So far, Berkeley has refused to act on these and other complaints.
A new report from San Francisco on the impact of AirBnB on the rental housing market calls for SF Supervisors to require “hosting platforms” to only advertise rentals that are legally listed with the city. Yet Berkeley’s draft recommended by planning Staff does even require that an advertisement show an identifying license number.
We ask Berkeley Tenants to join BTU in asking the City Council to enact legislation requiring hosting platforms to only list units and hosts that are registered with our City and to fine hosing platforms like HomeAway, FlipKey and Airbnb if they advertise rentals which are not legal here. This would allow less expensive enforcement of the new laws, which will allow regular folks to rent out their own home. We hope the new law will stop large landlords from turning whole apartment buildings into hotels – as several have done already!
We also want to support the Rent Board, Planning Commission and Housing Commission in suggesting that units where tenants have been evicted through OMI or Ellis Act evictions should not be allowed to be short term rentals in Berkeley. Please take a look at the report from the Rent Board, which is an attachment below.
Finally, we suggest you write to the City Council to request that no whole units, not even in-law or accessory units, be converted to hotel rooms when we need every single housing unit to be offered to folks who live and work in Berkeley! Although the original Council referral asked that the law require any short term rental to be someone’s primary home, the Staff draft of the new law would allow some 2nd units on owner-occupied properties to be offered as tourist rentals. As the analysis of the impact of Airbnb in San Francisco shows, losing units to short term rentals does drive up housing costs.
Kathy’s Letter on Enforcement
STRS Council May 2016 from KH
Handy Chart on Different Versions from Jesse Townley
Council Item 30 for May 31
This item has six attachments, including two versions of the ordinance. BTU favors the Planning Commission draft, but even that’s not ready to be law as written. The best place to access the item is in the full agenda packet on page 285.
Rent Board Report on No-Fault Evictions
Berkeley’s Housing Commission on Vacation Rentals
SF Report on Enforcement
SF Analysis of STR Impact 2016
Also on the May 31 Agenda:
Item 19 Support AB 2502 Inclusionary Housing
Ask the state to allow local requirements for affordable rental housing. Right now, Berkeley can’t require that developers include lower-income units on site if the housing being built will be rental housing. California needs to make a law to allow Berkeley control over local zoning mitigations.
Item 21 – End Discrimination Based on Tenant’s Income Source
Owners would have to accept Section 8 Housing Vouchers.
Item 27 – Placing a Measure on the November 8, 2016 Ballot to Increase the Business License Tax on Owners of Five or More Residential Rental Units
Item 31 – Tenant Protection Ordinance