Lydia DePillis reported on the two bills, one proposed by Unite Here Local 25, the hotel workers union, and the other from large hotels.
The union bill would make it illegal to rent a unit on Airbnb except for renting out a room inside one’s own house, in a single-family (detached or row) house, with a special permit, and after notifying all nearby neighbors and the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission.
The industry bill would allow owners to rent out a totally independent unit such as a legal basement apartment and not necessarily live at the property, but each person could only own a maximum of five Airbnb units and only one in any single building.
A Unite Here consultant analyzed Airbnb listings and found 66 percent of DC’s 3,500 Airbnb units were for separate units, which the union’s bill would outlaw. Forty percent of units were from owners who owned more than one (which also would be illegal under their bill). One owner had 79 units, DePillis reported.
Since there was some confusion, it’s also good to understand that Airbnb already faces some regulation in the District; in particular, it collects the same tax that hotels pay, which was one of the biggest complaints of an uneven playing field in the past.
David Alpert is founder and editor of Greater Greater Washington. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.