Last year the DC Council adopted a law that dramatically curtailed the ability of homeowners to rent their houses out via Airbnb. Property owners would only be allowed to rent out the property 90 days a year if they did not live in the house. Since that describes most investment Airbnb houses, the law would seem to put a big crimp in that business model.
And as GM has noted, prior to the law there has been a big growth in these investment Airbnb properties in Georgetown. on a block just around the corner from GM’s house, three of the nine properties were exclusively Airbnb properties (meaning nobody lived there except when an Airbnb customer was renting out the house). What would happen to these properties once the law kicked in?
When, technically the law has kicked in, but the Mayor doesn’t like the law and her agencies haven’t issued the necessary regulations to put it fully into effect. So for now, a legal gray area applies. But it seems the owners of those three properties didn’t want to wait for the other shoe to drop: one has already been sold, and the other two were recently listed for sale.
This is clearly just anecdata, but it could foreshadow what’s coming for the other dozens of Airbnb houses around Georgetown. The owners could choose to continue on illegally (heck, renting out your house this way without a Bed and Breakfast license was always technically illegal) or cash out. With the threat of a recession on the horizon, maybe now’s the best time to get out? Stay tuned…