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Holding Airbnb accountable for keeping communities safe and playing by the rules.

STRs aren’t the cause of D.C.’s affordable housing shortage? Tell that to citizens.

June 14, 2017

In a recent opinion piece in The Washington Post, Dia Michels wrote against D.C. Council member Kenyan R. McDuffie’s proposed short-term rental (STR) bill, saying the legislation didn’t adequately “[consider] the facts on housing in the District and [listen] to stakeholders.”

Well, we’re more than happy to hear what stakeholders have to say about the bill, and those that commented on Michels’ piece spoke out overwhelmingly against the tight grip that Airbnb and other STR platforms have on the D.C. housing market.

Here’s a sample of the comments from locals:

  • “This isn’t about people renting out a single room, a single apartment, or even a (single) whole house. It’s about an end-run around DC’s laws, taxes and regulations, including housing and landlord-tenant laws.”

 

  • “So, basically, Michels is making money and that’s all that’s important to her. The degradation of the neighborhood from the rolling house parties at her rental isn’t a problem because she doesn’t live nearby, and she fluffs herself on paying taxes. Oh, that’s impressive.”

 

  • “I’m in favor of short-term rentals, but with certain restrictions.
    You must pay (as the author here does) hotel taxes.
    2. If you are NOT a resident of the home at least 10 months of the year, then you must be up-to-code with safety regulations, such as fire alarms and emergency exits. And therefore, your home must be licensed by the city.
    3. If the police are called in more than once every two years for noise or other public-nuisance issues, then you may lose your license to rent out your property short-term.
    4. Your property may not be rented out for more than eight months out of the year as a short-term rental. (If it’s available for longer than that, then it should be a long-term rental instead.)”

 

  • “In high-rent cities that are also tourist destinations – not only here, but New York, San Francisco, Toronto, Vancouver – Airbnb and its cousins have attracted numerous people who rent properties they own but in which they do not live, even to the point of entire small apartment buildings being used for short-term rentals. For people of low or moderate income who are seeking rentals to live in – and in a city with great disparity between incomes and rent costs for many people – any rental units that are taken out of circulation for more lucrative short-term rentals are units that are not available for full-time residents. Deleting units from the rental stock for actual residents can only have the effect of increasing upward pressure on rents.”

 

  • “Short-term rentals a la Airbnb and VRBO are illegal for apartment buildings and condos in our city (rentals in owner-occupied single-family homes and owner-occupied two-flats are allowed). Unfortunately, our landlord has been blowing off that law for close to two years. As a result, we’ve had security issues thanks to guests leaving the garage doors open when they go out, noise problems, the hallways and stairwells reeking of smoke thanks to the short-term ‘guests’ going there to smoke because the short-term rentals are non-smoking, and throwing parties. The worst one featured the police having to come to break it up and someone vomiting in the building’s only elevator. Thankfully, our city government is starting to crack down on this.”


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