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Proposed DC bill seeks tighter regulations for home-sharing services


Dive Brief:

  • Home-sharing services like Airbnb could face stricter limits on rental terms under a bill put before Washington, D.C.'s city council last week, according to WAMU.

  • Under the proposed rule, residents who use home-sharing services to let out their space will be required to obtain a business license for short-term rentals. Additionally, it would limit users to renting out a single unit such as a room or entire house, and requires the resident to also live on-site, with some exceptions for vacation rentals. 

  • Fines from $1,000 to $7,000 for hosts and guests are proposed for violating the rule. Half of those proceeds would be used to fund affordable housing in the city.

Dive Insight:

The move by D.C. officials comes amid a flurry of similar measures worldwide to crackdown on short-term rentals, which are often unregulated and face resistance from both the licensed single-family rental market and the hotel industry.

Late last year, city officials in New Orleans worked with Airbnb to pass legislation that eases some oversight on home-sharing services in exchange for directing tax-revenue from the use of such platforms to the construction and preservation of affordable housing in the city. It also limits rentals there to 90 days.

This followed a law introduced in October in New York making it illegal to use home-sharing services to advertise the leasing of an apartment in a building with three or more units for less than 30 days. The measure is aligned with a 2010 law that prevents the renting out of anything more than a couch or a room in such an apartment under those terms.

For its part, Airbnb has responded to concerns from municipalities in which it is active and in December drew up suggestions for city governments for the voluntary collection and remitting of taxes from hosts.

Meanwhile, the company is also seeking to work within regulatory limits internationally. Beginning Jan. 1, 2017, hosts in London and Amsterdam could rent out full-home residences for up to 90 days a year in the former city and up to 60 days in the latter, putting home-sharing sublets under the same existing rules as full-home rentals in those cities.

Critics of the D.C. measure cite the limits set in London and Amsterdam as well as in New Orleans as evidence that the proposed 15-day rental allowance is too limiting.

This post originally appeared on our sister publication, Construction Dive. Our mission is to provide busy professionals like you with a bird's-eye-view of the construction industry in 60 seconds. To subscribe to our daily newsletter click here.