One Way to Protect D.C.’s Affordable Housing? Crack Down on Airbnb’s Illegal Hotels

What if we told you there’s an easy way to help alleviate Washington, D.C.’s affordable housing crisis?

There is. All it takes is cracking down on commercial operators buying up all the cheap housing in the District.

According to a report by ShareBetter D.C., the majority of Airbnb rentals in Washington are listed by commercial operators.

What does that mean for affordable housing?

Rent-controlled housing is being snatched from the people that really need it. Using platforms like Airbnb, huge property management companies profiteer from properties meant to serve single mothers, middle-class families, the disabled, and the elderly. In fact, D.C.’s attorney general recently filed suit against a company that was violating the city’s Rental Housing Law by renting out multiple units on a short-term basis.

Now, we’re not saying all short-term rentals are bad. Airbnb’s own CEO says he wants to limit hosts to “one home — just the home you rent.” But having dozens or even hundreds of properties causing housing prices to spike all over the District? That’s unacceptable.

Housing in this city is already too scarce. We need D.C.’s City Council to say NO to Airbnb’s commercial operators who are filling our neighborhoods with illegal hotels.

Because the families who need homes can’t afford to wait.