Massive, Sudden Rent Increases Hit San Francisco

San Francisco rent (Jason Tester Guerilla Futures / Flickr / CC)
Jason Tester Guerilla Futures / Flickr / CC

A spate of sudden, dramatic rent increases has hit San Francisco, with one North Beach resident saying he recently received a notice from his landlord that his rent was increasing from $1,800 to $8,000 per month.

“If I have to move to say Vallejo, it would be very economically hard to produce the same number of hours,” Neil Hutchinson, 47, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “My life is in San Francisco. I don’t have a car. The commute would be brutal to my career.”

Hutchinson,  a video engineer who has been living in a three-bedroom unit in the trendy North Beach neighborhood for six years, said the new rent went into effect on June 1. The unit is allegedly in shoddy condition, but the location is important enough to Hutchinson that he has been prepared to put up with it until now.

According to Trulia, the median rent in North Beach over the past month was $6,850 per month.

The Chronicle notes that last year, just six miles away from North Beach in Bernal Heights, tenant Deb Follingstad made headlines when she posted a notice from her landlord on Facebook indicating that her rent had leapt from $2,145 to $8,900.

Renters aren’t the only ones experiencing the woes of San Francisco’s gentrification. The long battle between the city and multi-billion dollar short-term rentals startup Airbnb continues to rage. According to TechCrunch, on Monday, Airbnb filed suit against San Francisco to block a new ordinance, which would require the company to verify that its hosts have registered with the city before showing ads for their homes online, from going into effect on August 1.

The city is reportedly attempting to make Airbnb go through the rigorous registration and quarterly process in order to find out which commercial renters are taking their properties off of the housing market and listing them exclusively on the short-term rentals startup. Homeowners are able to make more money that way, but the city wants to stop them from doing it to preserve housing stock.

The City of San Francisco is reportedly attempting to force Airbnb to list all the furnishings in the home that a guest might use, down to the sheets and towels.

In Airbnb’s lawsuit, the company argues that the City of San Francisco violated Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA), which protects online intermediaries, like Airbnb, from being held legally accountable under the law for speech or actions taken by others, i.e. their tenants.

Additionally, Airbnb reportedly claims that San Francisco shouldn’t require the company to turn over information about its users without a subpoena, and that the city’s new requirement to disclose its users’ registration data violates the Stored Communications Act.

Airbnb announced the lawsuit in a blog post:

This legislation ignores the reality that the system is not working and this new approach will harm thousands of everyday San Francisco residents who depend on Airbnb. It also violates federal law…This is an unprecedented step for Airbnb, and one we do not take lightly, but we believe it’s the best way to protect our community of hosts and guests.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz