The Real Deal New York

What’s up with Scott Pruitt’s $50-per-night condo lease?

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency's condo lease is the focus of an ethics probe.
April 08, 2018 09:00AM

Scott Pruitt. (Credit from left: Gage Skidmore, Pixabay)

The real estate world has chimed in on the ongoing probe into EPA head Scott Pruitt’s condo lease and their conclusion is: “very strange.”

D.C.-based realtors and agents who gave their assessments on Pruitt’s lease to the Washington Post said the price point — $50 per night for a total of about $1,500 per month — was not the concern; the unusual occupancy clause of the lease, where Pruitt paid rent only for nights he stayed, was virtually unseen in the market.

“That’s bizarre,” Apartment Detectives’ Nancy Simmons told the Post. “Typically, when you rent something, you rent something at a monthly rate, unless it was like an Airbnb scenario.”

Pruitt referenced the short-term rental site as an explanation for his lease in an interview on Fox News, but realtors say the comparison doesn’t jive.

“You could have an Airbnb but not something where you just have the right to use it when you need to and only pay during the time it’s used,” said Compass’ Lindsay Reishman to the Post. “That’s a tenant-friendly agreement for sure.”

Evers & Co.’s Susan Berger echoed the sentiment: “I’ve never seen it before.”

The probe, launched by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is examining the nature of Pruitt’s rental lease. The condo is owned by the wife of the chairman of Williams & Jensen, an energy lobbyist, as the New York Times reported. Pruitt told Fox News he moved out of the condo last summer. [WP]Erin Hudson