San Francisco says couple illegally turned home into a hotel

SAN FRANCISCO — A couple turned their home into an illegal hotel where a party held by guests last year ended in a shootout that sent partygoers fleeing from rooftop to rooftop and terrified neighbors, a San Francisco official said Wednesday.

A lawsuit filed by City Attorney Dennis Herrera alleges Erik M. Rogers and his wife, Anshu Singh, unlawfully rented their Bernal Heights home through short-term rental websites for at least 319 nights between June 2016 and October 2017, sometimes charging more than $800 a night.

The couple, who spends most of the time in Bali, Indonesia, also illegally converted the home into two units, Herrera said.

San Francisco requires people renting their homes through online sites like Airbnb and HomeAway/VRBO to live in the unit at least 275 nights a year and that they rent it no more than 90 days during that time.

Herrera said the lawsuit is seeking a court order requiring the property to be brought into compliance with the law and hundreds of thousands of dollars in financial penalties to deter future violations.

Rogers and Singh didn't immediately respond to emails from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Police were called to the home in October 2017 after a party ended in a gunfight that left one person wounded and more than a dozen homes and cars pierced by bullets in the quiet, residential neighborhood. Neighbors told police the gunfire sent dozens of partygoers fleeing through rooftops and backyards.

An affordable housing shortage in San Francisco has sent prices soaring with an average one-bedroom apartment renting for more than $3,000, and the median home selling for about $1.5 million.

"In the middle of a housing crisis you have a couple who aren't even living in the country turning a house into an illegal hotel for tourists and partiers," Herrera said. "This could have been a home that kept one more family in San Francisco. Instead, it brought a deluge of gunfire to a quiet neighborhood."

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