Rental Madness for Obama Inauguration

by Mark Wellborn

Rental Madness for Obama Inauguration

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. 


  1. Syd said at 8:30 pm on Thursday November 13, 2008:
    I'm considering it for my U Street apt, but its just so creepy! Need to convince the wife, which may be the biggest hurdle 😃
  1. Mark said at 9:33 pm on Thursday November 13, 2008:
    FYI - if you rent your personal home for less than 15 days during the year - it is not taxable by the federal government.
  1. tara said at 9:43 pm on Thursday November 13, 2008:
    this site is awesome! keep up the good work!
  1. Obama inauguration said at 9:49 am on Saturday November 15, 2008:
    I would recommend a new free online service if you want to stay for cheap -- The Room Exchange Network -- www.roomexnet.com. This is an online service--free to use-- that matches people seeking cheap, clean short-term housing with individuals that have properties to offer on a short-term basis. It's certainly a better option than trying to get a $700 per night room at The Red Roof Inn. And, if you have a property in DC, why not list it there?
  1. TS said at 3:03 pm on Tuesday November 18, 2008:
    I am also thinking about renting my place out in DC...I am concerned about taxes, though. Mark stated that if less than 15 days not taxable...where does it say that? Do I have to claim what I rent for on income taxes?
  1. SJ said at 3:49 pm on Tuesday November 18, 2008:
    Does anyone have information on real estate agencies that are handling inaugural rentals for property owners?
  1. jake said at 6:08 am on Saturday November 22, 2008:
    hotpads put up some neat stuff for the inauguration: http://hotpads.com/search/inaugural-housing
  1. Iverson Gandy said at 5:18 pm on Sunday November 23, 2008:
    Maybeweneed.com is offering a free service for users who want to rent their home to guests during the inauguration season or for out-of-towners who are looking to participate in what will be the biggest Presidential inauguration in United States history. It only takes 60 seconds to list your home and even lets you to upload images of your home. You can specify whether or not pets are allowed and also lets you add various amenities that you offer. http://www.maybeweneed.com/inauguration
  1. thelma said at 10:26 pm on Monday November 24, 2008:
    Would like to have additional information in regards to renting my home for the inaguration.
  1. Heather said at 1:23 am on Tuesday November 25, 2008:
    I am offering up my house for rental for inauguration. 2700 SQ.FT. 3 bedrooms, 5 miles from metro, 20 miles from DC, plenty of available parking. If anyone is interested email me at lnhm82@aol.com : )
  1. Kimberly said at 5:35 am on Tuesday December 2, 2008:
    Our home for rent located 35 miles outside of DC. Complete with in house chef to prepare morning breakfast and evening meals. Offering 2br/2.5ba, can accommodate up to 6. for more info contact atrain5253@aol.com
  1. n mclean said at 12:49 am on Thursday December 4, 2008:
    3 bedroom 2-21/2 bath 3 story townhome. willing to rent. walking distance to subway
  1. william said at 11:40 pm on Thursday December 4, 2008:
    *Rent a room in my home for the Inauguration. Full use of Kitchen and 1.5 bath. Close to bus and train. Located in Fredericksburg, VA. 15min off I95 and just 90min south of Washington D.C.
  1. william said at 11:47 pm on Thursday December 4, 2008:
    *Rent a room in my home for the Inauguration. Full use of Kitchen and 1.5 bath. Close to bus and Train. Located in Fredericksburg, VA. 15min off I95 and just 90min south of Washington D.C. Contact me@ www.sgtbjohnson@yahoo.com
  1. Cheryl said at 1:35 am on Friday December 5, 2008:
    I am listing my home for the inauguration from Jan 17-24th at $2750 per night, with a minimum 4 day stay. My house is in DC, 1 block from the Metro rail and Metro bus, pharmacy, banks, and stores, almost 3 miles from the Capital and White House. It has 3 floors with 3 bedrooms (sleeps 6), 3 remodeled full baths (1 w/body sprays), remodeled kitchen with stainless steel appliances, refrigerator will be stocked to tenants request awaiting their arrival. Living Room has a sleeper Sofa (sleeps 2) and sleeper Loveseat (sleeps 1) and room for your airbed. Den has a Queen Size Futon (sleeps 2) with a 32 inch Flat Panel TV. Basement has a regular sofa (sleeps 1) and loveseat (sleeps 1 child or vertically-challenged adult) with a 50 inch Flat Panel TV. Ample street parking, off-street parking for two cars is available in the driveway (garage access available upon request for an additional $150/day), Cable TV throughout house, and Encrypted Wireless Internet Access with strong signals throughout the house. Use of my Exercise Equipment and/or Computer is available upon request for additional cost. This house is great for large families or groups who want to split the cost of accommodations for this historical event. I will, upon request, offer airport pick-up and drop-off for no additional cost. For serious inquiries, please contact me at sassamataz@gmail.com.
  1. Jewels said at 10:31 pm on Friday December 5, 2008:
    I have a 4 bedroom/5 bath town house two blocks from the metro in Arlington, about 2 miles outside of the District. It will be available Jan 17-24. Please e-mail if interested. jchamilton@bop.gov
  1. J.R. said at 10:32 pm on Monday December 8, 2008:
    $1000 per night - Inauguration Housing – Walk to National Mall Downtown DC jr 1BR apartment to rent for your Inauguration visit within walking distance to National Mall, White House, Capitol and monuments. Also walkable to Georgetown, Chinatown and Dupont Circle. Walkable to 3 metro stops/lines. Most convenient location you will find! Space is clean and furnished. Full kitchen, washer-dryer, big screen 50” HD TV. Don’t be lured by places outside of DC. DC is very hard to get into, especially with 3 million people coming for this event. Don’t worry about the hassle and traffic with commuting – stay within walking distance. Safe and secure building – monitored by front office building manager. Building is non-smoking. MINIMUM 2 NIGHT STAY – (Housing available for rent from 1/16 – 1/21). DEPOSIT OF HALF of the total amount due immediately to hold your spot. The deposit is non-refundable if the cancellation is due to the tenant. The other half of the deposit is due when you arrive and I give you the keys. Tenant will be required to sign a liability contract upon arrival. Contact – inaug.housing4rent@gmail.com if interested.
  1. Yolanda said at 9:55 pm on Sunday December 14, 2008:
    3 Bdrm, 2 den, 2 1/2 bath, 3 floor single family house w/ garage, w/d for rent. SLEEPS UP TO 10+ people. Located at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac, 20 min drive to DC and 40 min drive to the Mall, and 10 min drive to 2 metro stations. Walking distance or 2-5 min drive to a nice mall, movie theater, numerous restaurants, grocery stores, beauty salons, etc. Renovated in 2005, hw floors, plush carpet, granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, paint, etc. $1100/ night. Email yoliv77@yahoo.com SUBJECT: INAUGURATION RENTAL for a full flyer and more info. Contract & deposit required.
  1. Billal Sikandar said at 5:11 am on Monday December 15, 2008:
    Single Family home basement, huge basement with bed,TV,and Bathroom. The house is in Bowie,MD which is about 15-20 mins away from DC and about 35 min drive to the Mall.It is about 10 min away from the metro. It is about 5 min away from huge mall, movie theater,numerous restaurants,grocery stores,etc.The basement is very clean and has carpet floors, has amazing amount of space and does have furniture.Also, the kitchen is for your use as well. Asking price $700/night. Email dr.sikandar@hotmail.com SUBJECT:INAUGURATION RENTAL for full house as well please contact me by email. Contract & deposit required.
  1. Joe said at 12:50 am on Wednesday December 17, 2008:
    I have one room and two homes for rent in Baltimore City. 45 miles from Washington, easy access to the light rail and Penn & Marc train stations, also Trailway Bus Station to Washington Dc.
  1. Rob said at 6:11 pm on Wednesday December 17, 2008:
    We have a Huge, 5 bedroom, 5 1/2 bath house in upscale Bowie, MD neighborhood for rent. Full Basement. Cable, internet...perfect for church groups, etc. email me at kazz4real@aol.com for price and availabiity
  1. Ken said at 7:06 pm on Wednesday December 17, 2008:
    We have a 1,900 square foot 3BR/2.5BA three story townhouse on Capitol Hill, 10 minutes walk from the Capitol. The house is perfect for large families ... or several families ... and is ideal for entertaining. Luxury rental, filled with Obama material (we were big canvassers). Master suite on top floor with large BR with jacuzzi tub and standup, glass enclosed shower. Also fireplace on floor. Exercise equipment includes treadmill, bike, and dumbells. 40" HDTV + 2 additional TVs on satellite. WiFi. Will stock refrigerator and fill bar. You'll love the house. Email ken_eisner@email.com
  1. Katie said at 4:50 pm on Thursday December 18, 2008:
    I am a private owner of an empty apartment in Alexandria within walking distance to the Metro. We are renting it for the inauguration. It's in one of the Carlyle buildings near the federal courthouse. Email me if you are interested at sweetness_kt@yahoo.com. Please put RENTAL in the subject line. Thanks!
  1. roubel said at 9:09 pm on Friday December 19, 2008:
    I ma offering housing for the 2009 inauguration, this is a luxury home please visit this site for all of the details. +++ BEST OFFER for Luxury Inauguration Rental, NO PRICE GOUGING.+++ http://inaugurationrental.wordpress.com/
  1. LoganCircleDC said at 4:46 pm on Sunday December 21, 2008:
    INAUGURATION - Be Downtown for It All! Better Than a Hotel - Logan Circle Townhouse/ Sleeps 6 - Walk everywhere. The Price, Parking, Location, and Luxury can't be beat. $1,300/night (minimum 2 night stay) Sleeps 6 Serious inquiries only, please respond via email to 25Below (at) gmail (dot) com.
  1. Rental said at 11:51 pm on Saturday December 20, 2008:
    I am offering a basement for rent for inauguration weekend. It includes a bathroom, laundry room, and two bedrooms. Tours of city and driver are including in pricing. Only half an hour away from D.C. Price is negotiable. Contact at gagan_411@Yahoo.com
  1. Mark Russell said at 8:15 pm on Monday December 22, 2008:
    Home for rent in upper marlboro, Md 15000 for the week. Call for information 301.780.8363
  1. Mr. A. Clark said at 11:02 pm on Tuesday December 23, 2008:
    I live in Lorton, VA, which is approximately 15 minutes away from the downtown area. I own a 2 bedroom condo that will be available for the Inauguration. If you are interested please contact me via email at altac@yahoo.com. Pictures are available upon request.
  1. Mr. A. Clark said at 11:07 pm on Tuesday December 23, 2008:
    The 2 bedroom fully furnished condo is going for only $3,000, for a 2 night stay.
  1. Mr. A. Clark said at 11:17 pm on Tuesday December 23, 2008:
    Please contact me at altavonc@yahoo.com, if you are interested in renting a two bedroom condo, fully furnished, a 2 night stay for $3000.00
  1. paul said at 2:16 am on Monday December 29, 2008:
    I am offering my beautiful, brick-front 5BR, 4 bath home on 1 acre for rental inauguration week, for $1000/night (sleeps 8-10). It is 45 minutes from DC, but 5-10 minutes from bus service running all day to DC.
  1. paul said at 2:17 am on Monday December 29, 2008:
    see above-if interested, contact me at pvp022062@yahoo.com for further info.
  1. Denise said at 3:21 am on Sunday January 4, 2009:
    I have a one bedroom deluxe confirmed reservation at Wyndham Old Town Alexandria that is for Jan.17th-24th,2009. I made this reservation 13 months ago because my timeshare deed is there. It is an awesome place that sleeps four with a hot tub, fully equipped kitchen, dining area for 6 and beautifully decorated living room. I am asking only $2400. for the week. I have seen the same condo for rent for $7000. for this week. Please email me if interested at vze29ttg@verizon.net This space is advertised on condoTrader.com ad # 03240801c1 and they will handle the transaction.
  1. RentMyHouse said at 4:19 am on Saturday January 3, 2009:
    Better than new 5 bedroom colonial for rent by the room or whole house in Reston Va; 15 miles from DC. Owners will assist with getting you to and from the Metro so you can enjoy the inauguration!
  1. RentMyHouse said at 4:21 am on Saturday January 3, 2009:
    Email me at houserentalInauguration@yahoo.com if interested in the above 5 bedroom house in Reston.
  1. Ann said at 6:17 pm on Saturday January 3, 2009:
    Elegant 6BR chateau in Laytonsville Maryland: 5 bath home on 2+ acres for rental-inauguration week, for $3000/night (sleeps 15-25). It is 30 minutes from DC, and 10 minutes from shady Grove metro service. My company Tisako also provides full catering services with limousine/chauffeurs and Servers if needed. Please visit us at WWW.Tisako.com or e-mail me at Ann@tisako.com. Great location for an intimate party
  1. Carmen said at 5:57 pm on Monday January 5, 2009:
    I have a 5 bedroom, 2 bath for rent in DC right off of Pennsylvania Ave that is empty and ready to rent for Inaugration week or longer. Asking $1,500 a night with min. stay of 4 days. along with a Smart Card for $100.00 for bus and subway use plus a fully stocked refrigerator. Only serious applicants should apply.
  1. Annette said at 12:18 am on Friday January 9, 2009:
    We have a beautiful 33ft. RV with bump-out that sleeps 8 comfortably. Located just outside DC and walking distance to metro. Asking $450 per night/3night minimum from January 17-24 if needed. Kitchen with stove and microwave/full hookup with shower and toilet, heated matress and flat screen T.V. If serious, please email putting "inauguration rental" in the remarks field - thanks!
  1. Ben Williams said at 7:42 am on Friday January 9, 2009:
    Im offering my small condo for rent during President Obama’s inauguration. The unit will be available starting 16 Jan (FRI) until 21 Jan (WEDS) and is located about 30 miles north of DC (very close to BWI Intl Airport). If interested and serious, please contact me at my email address, broben001@yahoo.com
  1. Joe said at 9:23 am on Friday January 9, 2009:
    Hello I am a young professional/grad student who is renting my brand new 1bd condo for the inauguration weekend. I am 25 ft from metro system bus stop, 4 blocks from Irving St metro (both accommodate metro smart-trip cards) the building has been newly renovated in 2007 and occupied by working professionals. I have highlighted some key points bellow. I am leaving the price open and will entertain offers. Photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/joevoros/Appartment# 430 Irving St NW, Washington DC 20010 2007 Frigidaire Stainless Steel Energy-Star appliances including: refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave oven & gas stove 800sq ft smoke free home, hard wood floors throughout apt with slate floor in bathroom, 10 ft ceilings with 3" inch base boards, and crown molding, granite counter tops in kitchen and bathroom. Additional amenities include: professional juicer, espresso machine, electric grill, wireless high speed internet, etc... Please feel free to contact me with respectable offers. I am a professional individual & in turn wish to deal with like minded individuals. Accordingly, there is a nonrefundable $1000 security deposit to hold the apartment should we come to agreeable terms. The deposit will be returned at the end of the agreed rental period. Thanks for your time and feel free to contact me at your convenience. Take care, Joe 2027474301
  1. TONY DON said at 10:37 pm on Monday January 12, 2009:
  1. jennifer bobys said at 3:28 am on Tuesday January 13, 2009:
    We've got an empty (although we can provide an air bed and at least one matress, as wel as other needed items) 3 bedroom, 2.5 townhouse thats minutes from the metro that we're looking to rent out! email me for info! Jennifer Bobysandsuss@aol.com

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