Airbnb Faces Regulation In Washington, DC

Libra Capitol Hill

The district council in Washington D.C. will vote this week on legislation that will decide if short-term rental travel accommodations companies such as Airbnb and HomeAway can do business in the nation’s capital.

According to Reuters, the regulation would prohibit people from offering short-term rentals of secondary homes, as well as limit rentals of primary residences to a maximum of 90 days a year if the owner is not physically present. There would be no restriction on short-term rentals if the owner is there.

Data from AirDNA revealed that there are nearly 7,000 Airbnb listings in Washington, with annual growth at 39 percent. If the legislation passes, Washington would follow in the footsteps of cities such as New York and San Francisco, which are trying to regulate the use of platforms like Airbnb.

The D.C. legislation passed unanimously in a preliminary vote earlier this month.

If the council votes in favor of the regulation on Tuesday (October 16), it would then need to be approved by Mayor Muriel Bowser, as well as be subjected to a congressional review.

Supporters of the legislation say short-term rentals take housing off the market and could also make housing prices in the area more expensive. Critics, however, argue there is little evidence that these rentals have an impact on housing prices.

Bowser has said that she is concerned the bill is too restrictive, and several council members have called for amendments that will allow for rental periods of 120 days a year.

“We have a large number of people who are either active military, they work for the Foreign Service, they work for different federal agencies or places where they get dispatched out for a couple of months at a time,” said Charles Allen, who introduced a previous amendment to allow for 120 days of rentals.

While that amendment failed, council chairman Phil Mendelson expects others to be introduced.