Oppose AB 1731 STR: coastal zone

Letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee:

June 12, 2019

The Honorable Hannah-Beth Jackson, Chair
Senate Judiciary Committee 
State Capitol, Room 2187 
Sacramento, CA 95814

RE:  AB 1731 Short-term rentals: coastal zone: OPPOSE

Dear Chair Jackson,

As Co-chair of the Home Sharers Democratic Club (“HSDC”), a duly chartered club of the San Francisco Democratic Party with nearly 400 members representing the home sharing and hosting community of San Francisco, I write to oppose AB 1731.

The Mission of the HSDC includes working to bring about fair and reasonable laws and regulations concerning home sharing.  We firmly believe that the restrictions on home sharing rights contained in AB 1731 do not represent fair and reasonable regulations on home sharing.  In our experience, home sharing has been an important lifeline that has helped many of our members continue to afford the rising cost of housing.  The proposed restrictions in AB 1731 would all but decimate this vital source of income from families that rely on it to make ends meet in San Diego.  The impact of this loss would fall not only on low-income families, but also disproportionately on families of color.

As a city and county located on the northern California coast, we in San Francisco are mindful of the joy and privilege of having access to the coast and its beaches.  This is not a privilege enjoyed by all Californians.  For that reason, we support the spirit of the Coastal Act and the legislative aim of making the coast accessible to all Californians.  This means that local laws that restrict access to the coast must be subject to a high degree of scrutiny and must be in pursuit of a compelling legislative interest.  We believe that AB 1731 fails this test.  The California Coastal Commission has recognized the importance of short-term rentals in providing affordable access to the coast.  If AB 1731 is enacted, it would strip away many affordable overnight housing options and render the San Diego coast an even more restrictive playground for wealthy Californians.

Finally, there is well-documented evidence that home sharing enhances small and local businesses, especially in areas underserved by traditional hotels.  Home sharing does not only provide extra revenue to those small businesses, but they generate much needed local taxes and support vital local jobs.  All that would be threatened by the restrictions contemplated in AB 1731.

For these reasons, we urge the members of your Committee to vote against AB 1731.

Peter Kwan
Co-chair, Home Sharers Democratic Club