Renting out a bedroom or your apartment on short term rental platforms like Airbnb and VRBO could put your tenancy at risk. In the past several years there have been significant changes to the laws related to short term rentals here in San Francisco, and the issue remains highly controversial. Many tenant advocacy groups contend that services like AirBnB reduces the amount of available housing stock in the city, further squeezing an already tight housing market.

Currently hosts can rent out all or a portion of their home to guests on a short-term basis under the following guidelines:

  • Host must register with the San Francisco Treasurer & Tax Collector as a business.
  • Host must apply for and obtain a certificate from the newly created Office of Short-term Rentals. This certificate must be posted on all listed ads.
  • Hosts can rent out their entire unit / conduct “unhosted” rentals for a maximum of 90 nights per year.
  • Hosts MUST reside in the listed unit at least 275 nights per year. This means that owners can’t opt to rent out a unit full time on a short-term basis / run a would-be hotel.
  • For tenants we do not advise renting out your apartment or a room on a short-term basis.
  • Most leases prohibit subletting without a landlord’s permission and prohibit a tenant from using the space for a commercial purpose. Arguably renting on Airbnb violates both of these provisions. If you are going to rent on AirBnB be sure to register with the city and get your landlord’s permission in writing to avoid putting your tenancy in jeopardy.


For more information see the Office of Short-Term Rentals site: