In about a month, the short-term rental regulatory bill which passed in DC last fall will take effect. However, some elements of the new regulatory structure remain up in the air.

Below, UrbanTurf summarizes the most important aspects of the bill as a guide for those who already rent out their home(s) on sites like Airbnb. We also look at the status of some of the less clear aspects of the new guard.

The Short-term Rental Regulation and Affordable Housing Protection Act places the short-term rental industry under the purview of Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), and will require hosts to acquire a permit for their short-term rentals. The details and process associated with the overall regulatory structure are still to be determined by DCRA. Here are some things to keep in mind as October 1st approaches:

  • There is no limit on the number of short-term rentals a host can have in their primary residence or the number of nights one can host in their primary residence, as long as the host is on the premises during the rentals.
  • Hosts will only be permitted to share their principal dwelling for up to 90 days a year, when they are not on the premises. However, if the host can prove a need to be out of the city for more than 90 days a year for work or to care for an ill relative, he/she may apply for an exemption to the 90-day cap.
  • Homeowners who receive a homestead deduction will still be eligible to do so regardless of whether they also list their home for short-term rental.
  • Hosts cannot give Visitor Parking Permits to their guests.

A fear under the new regulatory structure, however, is that hundreds of existing short-term rental units which may have otherwise been able to acquire permits could be taken off the market due to zoning. Current zoning regulations outlaw short-term rental units in residential zones, and although enforcement of this prohibition has been lax-to-nonexistent over the years, it is unclear whether that de facto blind eye policy will continue. DC Council Chair Phil Mendelson filed a zoning application last month to create a sense of urgency around the need for amended zoning rules to permit short-term rentals in residential zones.

A zoning hearing is scheduled for October 17th, more than two weeks after the law goes into effect. It is unclear how or whether this gap will effect the short-term rental market. UrbanTurf will continue to follow how DCRA and zoning regulations associated with short-term rentals evolve.

SOURCE: UrbanTurf