By Dianne Feinstein

Originally appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle

City Hall let us down.

Instead of encouraging the availability and affordability of scarce San Francisco housing, and protecting neighborhoods from short-term residential rentals to tourists, City Hall handed over the keys to the city to Airbnb and other home-sharing companies.

Now Airbnb has spent more than $8 million — a near-record sum — to defeat Proposition F, the ballot measure that does what City Hall should have done itself.

Prop. F closes loopholes and provides effective enforcement that will truly protect housing and neighborhoods.

It does this by prohibiting corporations such as Airbnb from listing any unit that is not properly registered with the city. To date, that’s nearly all of them: only 6 percent of the estimated 10,000 short-term rentals in San Francisco are legally registered.

Under current law, Airbnb is allowed to list illegal units; indeed, it makes most of its profit from them. It is illegal to use for short-term rental units not registered with the city, or any unit that was the subject of an Ellis Act eviction in the past five years, as well as any below-market-rate unit developed with public affordable housing funds.

Voters are told to give the law “time to work,” but existing law is so weak that every independent analyst, including the city’s own planning staff, reached the same conclusion: It’s unworkable and unenforceable.

Prop. F does not prohibit legitimate short-term rentals. It sets fair, reasonable rules for those wishing to rent an extra room from time to time, or their entire house while on vacation.

Prop. F requires property-owner approval before an apartment is sublet to tourists. Tenants can’t simply rent to tourists without landlord approval.

It provides notice to neighbors and other building residents once a short-term rental registration is approved.

And, it provides building tenants and neighbors the option to go to court against Airbnb and similar businesses if the city fails to stop illegal tourist rentals.

That’s important, because close to 400 complaints were filed in the past two years, but unbelievably only nine people were fined for illegal tourist rentals.

Prop. F is a San Francisco solution to a San Francisco problem: It’s fair, reasonable and effective, and supported by one of the broadest and most diverse coalitions we’ve ever seen — as it should be.

Airbnb is used to buying influence and power. This time, it’s your decision. Don’t let Airbnb get away with it.

Join us. Vote Yes on F.

Dianne Feinstein represents California in the U.S. Senate. She is joined in this opinion by former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos, state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, and retired Judge Quentin Kopp.