Rental Madness for Obama Inauguration

  • November 12th 2008

by Mark Wellborn

When reports came out in August that Oprah Winfrey was spending $50,000 to rent a house in Denver for the week of the Democratic National Convention, it shed light on a profitable new industry.

That industrial spirit has made its way to the nation’s capital as DC-area property owners and renters are putting their homes up for rent for those coming to town in January for Barack Obama’s inauguration. Soon after the Illinois senator’s victory last Tuesday, advertisements rapidly sprouted up on websites like Craigslist, and the rates are steep.

For example, a 2,600 square-foot three-bedroom condo in the Kalorama neighborhood that claims to be “a short distance from the White House” is asking $10,000 for the week. That is approximately double the monthly rent for a comparable property in this zip code.

A one-bedroom on the top floor of the Cairo building near 16th and Q Streets is available for the week for $7,000, almost three times the monthly rent for that area. The unit is furnished, has a roof deck and, according to the ad, the owner is “using the money to do volunteer work overseas, and willing to consider other reasonable offers.”

There are also options if you are heading to DC with a group, but some are prohibitively expensive. A five-bedroom, 5.5-bath mansion is available for the week in the Colony Hill neighborhood next to Georgetown. The home boasts an “expansive entertaining space and a large private garden,” and is fittingly owned by a White House physician from the Clinton administration. The price tag for the week: $25,000.

The asking rents are much higher than they were for President Bush’s inauguration following his 2004 victory, but by many people’s calculation, this will be a far more popular event. (Current estimates have 1.5 million people in town for the festivities.) Members of Congress are being flooded with requests for tickets to various inauguration events and some people are charging upwards of $1,000 just for tickets to the swearing-in ceremony.

The high prices for sublets do not seem to be dampening demand, though. One person who responded to an inquiry from UrbanTurf, but wished to remain anonymous, said that she had received 40 responses for her Capitol Hill one-bedroom apartment that was listed on Craigslist for $5,000 for the week.

“I don’t know how happy my landlord is going to be,” she said. “But it is tough to turn down that money when I can just spend the week on a friend’s couch.”

The landlord issue is a big one if you are renting. If it does not explicitly state in your lease that you can sublet then you could find yourself in legal trouble if you do it anyway. Even if the landlord allows subletters, it would be wise to notify him or her that you will be renting to someone else that week in case they want to conduct any background checks (credit or criminal). This is a benefit to you as well as it will give you some peace of mind for who is staying at your place that week.

If you own your own home, you obviously do not have to ask anyone’s permission before renting it out, but the money that you make is subject to taxes and should be reported on your individual income tax return.

However, many people will probably toss these laws and regulations aside. This week presents too good an opportunity to fly under the radar and make a chunk of cash that will pay your rent for the coming months.

See other articles related to: dclofts, inauguration, obama, renting in dc

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/rental_madness_for_obama_inauguration/337.

DC Real Estate Guides

Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market

We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Start browsing below!