No more vacation rentals in San Francisco

Bad news for those of you planning on renting an apartment for your next trip to San Francisco: it’s illegal. It seems the city’s long forgotten ordinance against residents renting out their apartments to tourists has of late been reinforced. The 1981 ordinance prohibits landlords from renting out to a tenant for a period of less than 30 days.

Why would San Fran care if landlords rent their apartments out as vacation rentals? Well, the city argues, the vacay rental market takes valuable housing off the rental market, making it more difficult for people to find affordable places to live. A recent survey of one of the city’s largest vacation rental services found around 500 properties available.

San Francisco’s enforcement of the vacation rental policy mirrors a decision earlier this year from New York state governor David Paterson to ban short-term vacation rentals in New York, and could signal the beginning of an anti-vacation rental legislative trend. And that could have a big impact on vacation rental industry companies like HomeAway and VRBO.

Tourists have gravitated to the vacation rental market in recent years in part because it’s more economical than staying a hotel: Prices are typically around half as much as hotels — and with added living amenities like kitchens and living spaces.

[photo by Flickr user permanently scatterbrained]