In D.C.: Rent Control Law 1, Short-Term Rentals 0

October 6, 2017, 12pm PDT by James Brasuell
It's still illegal to convert rental units into short-term rentals that act as a hotel business in Washington, D.C. A high-profile legal settlement will thus send a bumper crop of rental units back to the market.

Ian Elder reports on a court decision in Washington, D.C. that deals a blow to landlords that take housing units off the rental market and renting to tourists instead—a move which evades D.C.'s rent control law

"Attorney General Karl Racine accused Ginosi USA Corporation of converting dozens of apartments in four DC apartment buildings into 'the functional equivalent of hotel rooms' and renting them using its own website (not Airbnb, but with a similar business model)," explains Elder of the lawsuit. Several other companies were also named in the lawsuit.

After a settlement reported on Attorney General Racine's website, "dozens of rent-controlled apartments will now be restored to the market and the landlord will pay $210,000 in restitution."

The article includes more detail about the lawsuit and the legal precedents which protect rental properties in Washington, D.C. While the settlement is one victory for rental housing over short-term rentals, some of the parties named in the lawsuit are still battling the issue in court. Meanwhile, Washington, D.C. councilmembers are considering legislation that would "address this issue systematically by streamlining the regulatory rules for short-term rentals and by adding reliable enforcement mechanisms."

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Published on Thursday, October 5, 2017 in Greater Greater Washington