Airbnb and the Mission

Screenshot, Courtesy of Airbnb.

The San Francisco Chronicle has a good piece on the Airbnb’s rise, the controversies around renting out a room in one’s house and the company’s  swanky new headquarters.  One woman manages to earn $2000 a month renting out a room.

The private rooms available now in the Mission range from $79 to $130, but this probably changes by the minute.

Filed under: Mobile, Today's Mission

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  1. John

    Yes, $79 to $130 a night is probably a realistic range. I’ve gotten $100 a night fairly easily – many of them European visitors.

    But it’s hard work trying to fill the room every day, so in practice that $2,000 a month estimate is also fair. When you consider the work involved in changeovers, the fees to AirBnB and the taxes (for those who believe they apply) then it’s not a passport to great wealth; just a nice earner.

    (I assume here we’re talking about owner-occupiers, of course. It is totally illegal for a tenant to do this, on several grounds.)

    For many owners it is a more attractive option than risking having a long-term tenant. It also comes with the advantage of meeting interesting people from overseas. In fact, I have two invitations to stay with my guests in other countries.

  2. observant neighbor

    I don’t see why it’s “totally illegal” for a tenant to rent a room on airbnb. This like many other things can be negotiated up front in the lease, yes? I can imagine that as the short term vacation rental market continues to develop, many tenants will find it worthwhile to pay a premium for rental properties that can be “airbnb’d” at the tenant’s discretion. The tenant has better information than the owner about when s/he won’t be in residence, and the tenant may be more willing than the owner to incur the cost of screening short-term renters (or putting up with a stranger on the living room couch). If so, a lease provision authorizing short-term rentals by the tenant may be advantageous to landlord and tenant alike. The landlord gets a rent premium, and the tenant ends up with a subsidized lease.

    It’s unfortunate that the political conversation in San Francisco about airbnb is focused entirely on the “removal” of units from the city’s housing stock, rather than its potential for subsidizing tenants’ rents through a market mechanism.

    • John

      There are primarily two reasons why a tenant’s use of AirBnB would be illegal. By illegal, I don’t mean that it is a crime; only that there are civil remedies available to the property owner in such cases.

      First, almost all rental agreements and leases that I have seen in use in SF have a “no subletting or assignment” clause in them. This means what it says – a tenant has no right to sublet that unit to another tenant nor any right to “give” the tenancy to another tenant.

      There may be some very old leases that do not have that clause in them and, absent that clause, a tenant can sublet. Even then, the landlord is allowed to approve the sublettor for credit checks, criminal records etc.

      Second, even where a tenant is allowed to sublet, e.g. where there was a roommate who moves out, that tenant is not allowed to charge a sum that exceeds the total rent he pays and, moreover, the rent he charges to the subtenant must be proportionate and far.

      Breaking either of these two provisions would be grounds for eviction.

      No such constraints exist for an owner, of course.

      I cannot imagine any owner agreeing to such an arrangement. but offer someone enough money and you never know, I suppose.

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