The District of Columbia is suing the owner of a Dupont Circle house who has irritated neighbors and police for allegedly renting out the premises to organizers of loud parties and private concerts, most recently on Thursday night.
D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine filed suit Friday against Douglas Jefferies, the property owner, citing “egregious and unsafe business practices” as well as more than a hundred police calls to the property, many in response to reports of excessive noise or disorderly conduct.
Jefferies has advertised his six-bedroom “Celebrity House Hunter Mansion” for $1,200 a night through the vacation rental site Airbnb, where it was promoted as capable of accommodating hundreds of people at a time. On Thursday, a concert was given there by rapper Ja Rule.
In a brief interview Jefferies said the police had come to his house “at least a hundred times,” mostly with no cause for complaint. But he grew agitated and declined to comment, when asked whether the house also hosted large parties.
“I’ve lived in this house since 1994. I’m a law abiding citizen. Had I known that I was breaking the law, I would have done what I had to do to rectify the situation,” said Jefferies.
The suit accuses him of operating “an unlicensed residential housing business, public hall, boarding house, bed and breakfast, and general business at 2220 Q Street NW.”
“This is an example of a property owner operating a business with complete disregard for the law and with disrespect for his neighbors,” Racine said in a news release.
The suit, the city’s first involving Airbnb, could raise questions about the legality of renting out other D.C. homes through the site.
But Racine’s communications director, Robert P. Marus, said it was important to note that this particular lawsuit is not an indictment of Airbnb.
“This case is very specific. This case is a nuisance-property case,” Marus said.