An Airbnb listing near L’Enfant Plaza
This morning, Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie introduced a bill that will create regulatory mechanisms for individuals who want to rent their residence for fewer than 30 days at a time on services like Airbnb.
The bill would create a separate license category for short-term rentals and place oversight under the purview of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA). Anyone who wishes to list their home as a short-term rental would have to apply for this new category license, keep and maintain records and abide by DCRA requirements and inspections.
Under the bill, any host of a short-term rental would have to be a permanent resident of the listed dwelling unit and also have verifiable DC residency. Hosts would be limited to listing one unit and would have to be present while the home is rented. A vacation rental option would also be created for stays of up to 15 days without the host being present.
Rental hosting platforms would also be held accountable for cooperating with the regulations. Services like Airbnb would be required to request the basic business license (BBL) number from hosts, verify its validity and post said number on the unit’s advertisement.
The “Short-term Rental Regulation and Affordable Housing Protection Act of 2017” was motivated by the desire to ensure that affordable housing stock is maintained — especially in light of the recent discovery of a rent-controlled apartment building in Columbia Heights where nearly every unit was being occupied by short-term guests.
DC already requires anyone who hosts their home for short-term rentals to attain a BBL or, in some cases, a home occupation permit; however, these rules are intended to lend more structure to the short-term rental system and strengthen DCRA’s ability to inspect, identify potential abuses of the provision, subpoena records from hosts and hosting platforms, enforce civil penalties and shut down illegal rentals.
“The city lacks a coherent regulatory scheme for short-term rental housing, allowing bad actors to take those units off the housing market,” said Councilmember McDuffie in a statement. “It is time to create a clear, enforceable legal framework so that those who are exploiting the lack of regulations are stopped, and those who want to practice responsible home sharing can come into the light.”
Any fines collected from illegal short-term rentals would be split 50-50 between the General Fund and the Housing Protection Trust Fund; there will be a grace period of 120 days to allow anyone currently listing their dwellings to comply in the event that the bill becomes law.
This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/councilmember_mcduffie_introduces_bill_to_cut_down_on_airbnb_abuse_in_dc/12104.
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