Proposed Short-Term Rental Regulations More Expansive Than Realized in D.C.

An estimated 80-90 percent of short-term rentals could be outlawed if a proposed bill passes in Washington, D.C.
October 15, 2018, 1pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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The DC Chief Financial Officer has released a report that sheds new light on the details of a preliminary bill, first released in January 2017, to limit short-term rentals in Washington, D.C.

David Alpert reports that the DC Chief Financial Officer has found that the bill is far more expansive than many observers realized. "[A]ctually, it turns out, this bill will outlaw 80-90% of all short-term rentals, even for people who are renting a room in their house when home or for only a small percentage of time when away," according to Alpert.

Those expansive powers come from a provision in the bill that would enforce current city law requiring short-term rental owners to get a permit in residential areas. Alpert explains:

This provision is actually just reinforcing the current law. Right now, most Airbnb rentals are not actually legal. Many people didn't know. This provision has not been enforced, and mostly not enforceable since the government isn't tracking who is renting through Airbnb. The bill will change that.

According to Alpert, city staff hadn't necessarily intended all the effects of the proposed bill described by the Chief Financial Officer's report. The CFO also found that the bill would reduce revenue to the District, so it's possible this version of bill is bound for revisions, or perhaps even failure.

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Published on Thursday, October 11, 2018 in Greater Greater Washington
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