McDuffie Statement after the first vote on the Short-term Rental Regulation Act of 2018

 

Washington, D.C. – Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie (Ward 5) issued the following statement after the first vote on the “Short-term Rental Regulation Act of 2018” [B22-0092]

 

“On October 2, the Council voted unanimously to support legislation that provides clarity for participants in homesharing, protects the District’s housing stock, and preserves the integrity of neighborhoods for residents across the District.

My work on this legislation, the Short-term Rental Regulation Act of 2018, began over a year and a half ago. My goals were simple: to create a clear regulatory framework for District residents to participate in homesharing and address a glaring gap in the law that led to increased pressure on our housing market, abuse by commercial operators, and significant health and safety concerns raised by members of the community.

This legislation is not a ban on short-term rentals in the District of Columbia. Rather, it updates District law to create a new ‘short-term rental’ business license. It permits residents to host short-term rentals at their primary residence which includes English basements, carriage houses, or any other unit located on the property.

Currently, there is no coherent, enforceable regulation of short-term rentals in the District. Yesterday, we moved toward establishing a sensible regulatory framework that will provide clarity for short-term rental hosts. The legislation supports hosts by streamlining the process. If this bill becomes law, those who wish to participate in homesharing can do so without the burden of navigating the District’s current obsolete and inadequate permitting rules.

The legislation has evolved since I introduced it in January 2017 and I have worked to incorporate the ideas and concerns of homeowners and the legislation is now in line with comparable jurisdictions across the country. By limiting hosts to homesharing their primary residence, it limits the number of housing units that will become short-term rentals and thus preserves the District’s housing stock. In doing this, the legislation reflects the vision of AirBnB’s co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky, who said in jurisdictions where there are housing constraints “we want people to rent the homes they live in and not take units off the market.”

Moreover, the legislation preserves the character of our neighborhoods and addresses the safety and health concerns raised by members of our communities. It allows homeowners to offer short-term rentals 365 days a year when they are present on the property, and for up to 90 days if the host is away from their home. It also adds an additional layer of safety and accountability by requiring each host to have information on file for a point of contact who is accessible 24 hours a day.

I am pleased that the legislation passed unanimously this week on its first vote before the Council and I look forward to final passage, currently scheduled for October 16.”

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