Property Owners Can Stop Illegal Subletting in San Francisco

subletting laws in San Francisco

Airbnb and other short-term rental platforms are extremely popular these days. Real estate investors don’t want to leave money on the table — and homeowners like a way to generate some extra cash. But what about the practice of illegal subletting, whereby renters sublet properties out to visitors for short-term use?

In San Francisco, much like in many other American cities, the rules about subletting are part of an individual property lease. If the landlord includes a ban on subletting in the lease, then using Airbnb or trying to get short-term sublet in place can be grounds for eviction and may be against the law if local regulations prohibit it.

This isn’t just a theoretical idea, either — around neighborhoods like Castro and the Tenderloin, and in other parts of San Francisco, landlords are enforcing these types of policies. An SFGate article from 2014 shows how various renters are receiving eviction notices due to their practices of using Airbnb or subletting illegally. The issue can be even more complicated for rent-controlled properties where in some cases, landlords end up either evicting or, in some cases, paying tenants to leave.

If you need help getting illegal sublets under control, Sublet Alert might be the solution for you. Learn more.

New Laws Fight Illegal Subletting In San Francisco

Experts cite legitimate concerns about occupancy rates, excessive noise, and building upkeep that can make some landlords wary of allowing renters to make short-term subletting agreements. Since 2015, San Francisco has had a tough short-term rental law which Airbnb challenged.

In May 2017, the city settled with Airbnb and other short-term rental companies. When residents post a property on a vacation rental site, they must procure a registration number from the Office of Short-Term Rental and list it on their application; Airbnb must take down listings for properties with invalid registration numbers. Every month, Airbnb must provide the city with a list of registrations.

The sooner property owners and managers are aware of illegal subletting in San Francisco, they can ensure that renters comply with the terms of a lease.