SF supes curb tourist use of SRO hotels


The San Francisco Board of Supervisors Tuesday unanimously approved legislation making it harder for the owners of residential hotels to rent rooms out to tourists.

The legislation, introduced by Supervisor Aaron Peskin, aims to preserve the affordable housing provided by SROs by banning the practice of renting out rooms by the week, requiring instead a 32-day minimum stay in most cases.

The legislation also increases penalties for violations and in lieu conversion fees and strengthens the reporting requirements and enforcement powers for the Department of Building Inspection, which enforces the city’s SRO ordinance.

San Francisco has had legislation on the books since the 1970s prohibiting the conversion of SROs to tourist hotels. However, over the years operators have found ways around the ban, including renting rooms by the week to tourists and claiming they were intending to move to The City, according to city officials.

The advent of the short-term rental industry has given operators new incentives to keep units off the SRO market.

Peskin Tuesday noted that The City’s stock of SRO units has dropped from more than 30,000 in the 1970s to around 19,000 today:

“I think we are taking a historic step to protect one of our most precious affordable housing resources.”

The legislation will still need to come back to the board a second time for final approval.

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