D.C. City Council Votes to Restrict Airbnbs and Other Short-Term Home-Sharing Rental Companies

This week, the city council of Washington, D.C., voted for stricter regulations on short-term home-sharing rental companies such as Airbnb; the legislation next heads to the desk of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D).

The regulations are some of the strictest of their type in the nation, limiting D.C. property owners to only renting out their primary residence (rather than any additional homes) and for only 90 days in a year.

It’s somewhat unbelievable that the legislation passed, considering the vote had been delayed last month after D.C. Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey DeWitt revealed the regulations would cost the city $104 million over four years, due to lost tax revenue and the expenses to enforce them.

In addition to the financial hit, the proposed legislation also disregards how much D.C. benefits from tourism. Short-term home-sharing rentals benefit local communities: Property owners have the opportunity to earn extra income, and local restaurants and stores receive additional traffic (and money), which is particularly valuable for areas that lack hotels to attract visitors.

Furthermore, these regulations trample over the rights of property owners.

Mayor Bowser should not sign this bill as it is.

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent those of any other individual or entity. Follow Sarah on Twitter: @sarahmquinlan.