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D.C. Council approves limits on Airbnb rentals

October 2, 2018

The D.C. Council gave unanimous, preliminary approval Tuesday to legislation that would limit how long home owners can rent properties via Airbnb.

The legislation would require all Airbnb hosts to live in the property they rent out and would limit the time they can rent their property to 90 days a year. The bill requires a second, final vote in a few weeks before it can become law.

“It’s like the wild West out there. We definitely need a regulatory framework for short-term housing,” said council member Mary Cheh, Ward 3 Democrat.

Ms. Cheh said she wanted to explore “plus one” exemptions to allow people to home-share a second property before the council votes for a second time on the legislation.

Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, at-large Democrat, said such exemptions were not included because the bill’s intent is to strike a balance between allowing commercial rentals on platforms like Airbnb and not “depleting” the city’s stock of affordable housing.

Almost 8,000 units are listed on Airbnb in the District, and about 68 percent of those units are entire homes or apartments, according to data tracking website Inside Airbnb.

City officials and community advocates have long worried that while home-sharing exacerbates the city’s housing shortage, especially for families. Only 31 percent of the city’s housing 300,000 units are big enough to accommodate a family, according to a March 2018 study by the nonpartisan think tank D.C. Policy Center.

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