SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A San Francisco couple has given the city $ 2.25 million to illegally lease 14 homes as Airbnb units.
City Attorney Dennis Herrera announced the settlement on Monday, calling the sentence an important deterrent to others who want to profit illegally from the city's housing crisis.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Darren and Valerie Lee were willing to pay the money as fines and investigation costs. A Lee lawyer, John C. Brown, did not respond immediately to a call for comment on Monday.
The Lees has also been prohibited for at least seven years from offering short term rentals in one of the 17 buildings in San Francisco that they own or manage.
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Faced with the acute lack of affordable housing, San Francisco has been battling tourist lettings in private homes and apartments since the founding of Airbnb in the city.
San Francisco has strict laws that require people who rent their apartments through online sites such as Airbnb and HomeAway / VRBO to stay at the property for at least 275 nights per year and to rent for a maximum of 90 days during that time.
The city sued the Lees for the first time in 2014 for evicting tenants, including a disabled person, from one of their properties to rent the premises from Airbnb. The Lees filed this case for $ 276,000 and agreed to a restraining order against more apartments in their 17 properties.
Herrera's office said the Lees ignored the injunction and took "far-reaching, deceitful" steps to pretend that the apartments were being leased to long-term tenants, including the creation of fake leases and the assertion that friends, family and co-workers were theirs Tenants were.
Information from: San Francisco Chronicle, http://www.sfgate.com