Since 2015, the vacation rental site, Airbnb, has brought $12 million to Washington, D.C. in hotel taxes. Soon, stricter limits may be set in place for vacation rental sites like Airbnb, thanks to a brand new bill introduced on Tuesday.
Introduced by Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, the bill requires residents who use services like Airbnb to need a new business license that would be created for short-term rentals. If approved, the bill would limit residents to renting out a single housing unit (e.g., room, basement) and require that they also live on the property.
According to WAMU, there is one exception, which is that a vacation rental may be rented for up to 15 days per year without the owner being present.
Violations of these rules could cost hosts anywhere between $1,000 to $7,000, and $1,000 for each illegal booking. WAMU reported that half of the proceeds from the fines would be set aside for the Housing Production Trust Fund, which preserves and develops affordable housing.
In January of this year, there were 4,247 active hosts in D.C. with 6,021 active listings with 3,6000 of those hosts only having one listing, as reported by WAMU. 71 percent of all of the listings, though, are for an entire home.
In a statement, Airbnb spokeswoman Crystal Davis described the bill as “unworkable.” She further stated, “We agree: home sharing should be regulated, and that’s why we’ve been working with the city for over two years. We look forward to working with Councilmember McDuffie, and other policymakers, on a smart, straightforward approach.”