Downstair unit question

3 Replies | San Francisco, California

Dear all,

A relative of mine recently purchased a single family home in SF, and intend to remodel and rent it out as a single family home (no APU, no rent control). There is a bonus room downstairs in the garage (not sure if it's warranted). The room does not seem to be inhabitable, and we think it's not suitable to be used as a bedroom (it is right next to parked cars). He is worried IF the future tenant use that room for AirBnB purposes or a guest room, and if something happened, whether he (as a landlord) would have any liability for that. Any thoughts or comments on this?

If he specifically add this policy (no AirBnB or use downstairs bonus room as a bedroom) in the lease, would it be enforceable? 


SF Planning’s short term rental policy is that only the property owner can offer the unit for short term rent and only then for a limited amount of time per year. I would imagine that if there was some provision in the lease barring the tenant from any short term rentals it could be enforceable as breach of contract (search the 15 just causes for eviction in SF).  I also believe, but am not certain, that the tenant would be entitled to a three day notice to cure.

Best of luck to your family member.

@Wen Chuang  I had an apartment once where they stated in the lease that the basement was not to be converted into any type of sleeping room due to the lack of proper fire escapes.  I don't know what your laws are there, but you should be legally covered if it is in your signed lease.  I assume he will have liability insurance as well.  What it comes down to is that unless he puts a deadbolt with key on the door, there is a chance someone would do that, so the only way to protect himself is to put it in the lease.  I would also put a clause regarding subletting but I would not specifically mention that room for fear of planting the idea in their head.  

Actually tenants are allowed to Airbnb, provided their LL allows them to, or if their lease has no restrictions on subleasing, then they can do what they want. (P.s. if your lease doesn’t forebid subleasing w/o LL conscent, you have a very bad lease for SF!)

In practicality, I’d make sure that space cannot be easily made into an illegal unit. If there is no bathroom, or kitchen provisions downstairs then you’re probably safe. 

All you can do is not allow it, make it clear to tenants, and keep an eye that they don’t do it.