Airbnb could soon face tough new restrictions in the nation’s capital

Washington D.C. council expected to vote on legislation banning people from renting secondary homes

Oct.October 16, 2018 09:30 AM

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky and the  U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. (Credit: Getty Images and Architect of the Capitol)

The district council in Washington D.C. could deliver a major blow to Airbnb on Tuesday.

The council is expected to vote on legislation that would ban people from renting out secondary homes and limit their rentals of primary homes to 90 days per year if the owner is not there, according to Reuters. If the owner is there, there would be no time restrictions.

The legislation unanimously passed in a preliminary vote, and if the council votes in favor of it, it would then go to Mayor Muriel Bowser for approval and congressional review. Bowser has expressed concerns that the bill’s restrictions are too harsh.

Council members have advocated for lessening the limits as well and could try amending the bill to let people rent their properties for 120 days a year.

There are about 7,000 Airbnb listings in Washington, and the platform has an annual growth rate of 39 percent, according to AirDNA, a website tracking the company’s rentals.

Washington is one of many cities trying to figure out how to rein in Airbnb. In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a bill earlier this month requiring the company to hand over information on all its listings in the city. Airbnb is now suing the city over the new law, claiming it violates the U.S. Constitution’s First and Fourth Amendments.

The company was last year valued at about $31 billion and has been considering making an initial public offering by late 2020, but strict regulations in cities like New York, San Francisco and possibly Washington could derail this plan. [Reuters]  – Eddie Small

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