San Francisco Voters Reject ‘Anti-Airbnb’ Ballot Measure
On Tuesday, 55% of San Francisco voters voted against a ballot measure that would have imposed stricter regulations on short-term rentals in the city. The voting results effectively made the $8.4 million home-sharing startup Airbnb (AIRBNB) poured into opposing the measure worth every penny. With 73,556 votes against the measure, Airbnb spent more than $113 in campaign money per vote.
The measure in question, Proposition F, had become ground zero for city-wide tensions over the current housing crisis, and the growing divide between the haves and have-nots. If passed, the measure’s proponents argued Proposition F could help curb the shrinking of affordable housing. Meanwhile Airbnb, on the other hand, argued that it would encourage frivolous lawsuits, infringement of privacy, and impossible demands on both the company and its hosts.
“This victory was made possible by the 138,000 members of the Airbnb community who had conversations with over 105,000 voters and knocked on 285,000 doors. The effort showed that home sharing is both a community and a movement,” Airbnb said in a statement on Tuesday following the vote tally.
Now that it’s been defeated, Airbnb and other short-term rentals will remain regulated under the current law, which lets San Franciscans rent out their homes for a maximum of 90 days per year if they aren’t present and an unlimited amount if they are. They are also required to register with the city, something a relatively small number of hosts have done so far. However, the city hopes its recently formed office for short-terms rentals will help boost its low numbers. Neighbors can also file complaints and lawsuits against hosts they believe are breaking the law.
Though it won the fight against Proposition F, Aibnb’s regulatory woes are far from over. The company is still battling hostility in many cities around the world: New York City, for example, forced the company to turn over data about 10,000 listings last year. And whether the company admits it or not, it’s very possible that similar efforts to regulate its business will emerge in other places, and even possibly again in San Francisco next year.
“We want effective remedies to the problems caused by Airbnb’s short-term rentals. We’re prepared to go back to the ballot to ensure residents and neighborhoods are protected from abusive short-term rentals,” Share Better SF, the group behind Proposition F, said in a statement.
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For more on Airbnb’s fight against Proposition F, watch this Fortune video: