Tuesday , January 31 2023

The couple agrees with a $ 2.25 million billing arrangement to rent illegal apartments in Airbnb



The city of San Francisco has reached a settlement of $ 2.25 million with two property owners accused of illegally renting 14 apartments in Airbnb for nearly a year, said Dennis Herrera City attorney today.

In addition to paying a $ 2.25 million fine, owners Darren and Valerie Lee agreed to modify their mandate by forbidding them to rent any of the more than 45 apartments in 17 buildings that hold short-term rents until at least May 2025.

The settlement and the amended order were filed today with the Supreme Court of San Francisco. Lees do not admit to the settlement that they have been involved in any offense. Their attorney was not immediately available for comments.

Herrera said: "This result frees more homes for long-term tenants and stops unfair competition on the market. A severe financial penalty is an important deterrent.

"Most importantly, we have maintained more than 45 homes to be used as homes, not for hotel rooms," he said in a statement.

Under municipal law, homeowners may provide short-term rents of less than 30 days, such as those available through Airbnb, in only one dwelling and this unit must be the home of the owner.

The case against Lees came from a Herrera trial against the couple in 2014 for allegedly illegally turning a building on Clay Street into short-term rentals after using the Ellis law to expel tenants.

This trial ended in an agreement in 2015, when Lees agreed to pay $ 276,000 and adhere to an order forbidding them from violating the short-term lease of the city for the buildings they own.

Herrera claimed in a May May report that between May 2015 and April 2016, the couple violated the law and order by advertising short-term rentals at 14 points in Airbnb for 2,851 days and renting the units for 2,271 nights, profit over $ 700,000.

The city claimed that the apartments were rented to the names of friends, relatives and associates of the Lees who leased as tenants or Airbnb hosts the units.

He claimed that the apartments looked like the rents were, but each unit had the same stance as the same Costco food items that were scattered, the same layout of breakfast dishes in the kitchen sink, the same collection of shoes and clothes in wardrobes and the same plants of houses.

The deposit initially claimed a fine of $ 5.5 million, consisting of $ 750 for each day each apartment was offered and $ 1,500 for each day was rented an apartment.

Herrera said the $ 2.25 million settlement would cover research costs and fund future consumer protection, including the imposition of short-term tenancy law.

The proposed injunction submitted today amends the original order of 2015.

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