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DC Zoning Commission Approves Short-Term Rental Definition on Emergency Basis

by Nena Perry-Brown

On Thursday evening, the Zoning Commission spent all of seven minutes to unanimously approve the Office of Planning (OP)'s recommendation to codify legalization of short term rentals in DC on an emergency basis.

Last week, the Zoning Commission held a hearing on the need to define and broadly permit short-term rentals in the zoning code to enable implementation of the Short-term Rental Regulation and Affordable Housing Protection Act which passed DC Council last year.

While the short-term rental law appointed the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs to oversee and issue licenses for short-term rentals, the implementation date of October 1st came and went pending the outcome of a zoning decision.

Following last week's hearing, OP submitted a report at the Commission's request to clarify what needed to be changed in the zoning code. Per the report's recommendation, short term rentals are defined in the zoning code as: "A use as defined by the Short-Term Rental Regulation Act of 2018 (D.C. Law 22-308), that has a valid Basic Business License from the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs with a “Short-Term Rental” or “Short-Term Rental: Vacation Rental” endorsement."

The report also suggests the Accessory Uses section of the code be amended to ensure short-term rentals are legal as a matter of right at any residential property in a non-PDR zone in DC, while exempting them from occupying no more than 20 percent of a property's gross floor area. The report clarifies that any business which already operates transient lodging must also secure a short-term rental license if they want to list on booking platforms which also advertise short-term rentals.

Following the ruling, DCRA is likely to issue emergency rules for how to enforce the new short-term rental regulations, at which time the public will have 30 days to comment before they would be enacted.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/zoning-commission-unanimously-approves-short-term-rental-definition-on-emer/16062

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