Indian American owner agrees to pay to $185K for illegal vacation rental

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Indian American Anshu Singh and Eric M. Rogers, the owners of an illegal vacation rental in Bernal Heights in San Francisco, California, have agreed to pay $185,000 in civil penalties and halt short-term rentals for five years.

According to a San Francisco Chronicle report, Singh and Rogers had converted 212 Banks Street into a two-unit building without permits and then illegally rented it to tourists for months via Airbnb and HomeAway/VRBO.

The couple had hired other people to manage rentals of the two units while they lived in Bali, Indonesia, however, San Francisco requires that vacation rental hosts live in their properties most of the year.

Both units also went for rates that sometimes exceeded $700 a night, allowing the couple to acquire about $160,000 from July 2016 to late October 2017, according to San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera.

In a settlement approved by a San Francisco Superior Court judge Tuesday, the couple agreed to forfeit that amount and pay an additional $25,000 as penalty.

The couple must also bring the property into code compliance in addition to having a 10-year injunction against illegal behavior on the property.

In October 2016, when Rogers applied for the city’s required vacation-rental permit, stating that he lived in the house at least nine months of the year, the Office of Short-Term Rentals determined that he had lied and denied the application, according to a San Francisco Chronicle report.

They also noted that the couple lacked a business registration certificate and had illegally added a kitchen to their property.

In October 2017, short-term renters hosted a party at two-unit building that “devolved into a massive shootout.”

“The gunfire sent dozens of partygoers fleeing through the neighborhood, running from rooftop to rooftop and trespassing through residents’ backyards. Police recovered more than 100 bullets and shell casings from the gunfight. Bullets pierced neighbors’ homes, damaging windows, doors and, in one house, the living room. Eighteen parked cars were damaged by gunfire,” Herrera’s office said.

While one person was wounded in the gunfire, a neighbor found a discarded gun in his yard and accidentally shot his hand, 10 weeks later.

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