Hotels or D.C. Families? The Impact of D.C.’s Proposed Home Sharing Rules in Communities of Color

This week, the D.C. Council will consider new home sharing regulations that would vastly restrict the ability of everyday Washingtonians to share their homes and make extra income to support their families.

The rules, which are backed by the big hotels, are being pushed through with very little public debate. Despite years of record expansion, occupancy and profits for the big hotels in D.C., executives continue to fund shady front groups that distort the facts and attack regular people sharing their homes.

Before the D.C. Council votes on these hotel industry backed regulations, there are a couple important things to know:

1. The D.C. Council and the Big Hotels have a long, happy relationship, including rubber stamping more than $250 million in hotel tax breaks over the last 10 years and accepting nearly $47,000 in campaign donations from the hotel industry.

2. This bill places severe limits on who can share their home and when — specifically restrictive night caps and secondary homes — which will rob families in the District’s majority minority zipcodes of an estimated of $18 to $25 million in supplemental income annually.

3. Entire sections of Washington, specifically East of the Anacostia River, have been totally ignored by the hotel industry — depriving neighborhoods of job opportunities and locals with lodging options for visiting friends and families. Meanwhile, there are Airbnb listings in every single ward, bringing millions in supplemental income and visitors to neighborhood businesses.

4. Last year alone, Airbnb hosts in D.C. earned $83.8 million in supplemental income simply by sharing their homes. Since Airbnb began collecting and remitting hotel taxes in 2015 our community has contributed $37.5 million to the city to support vital public services.

5. “Home-sharing services such as Airbnb provide an attractive alternative that not only helps D.C. tourism but also allows property owners to make some money. Given such benefits, the D.C. Council needs to tread carefully as it considers how best to regulate short-term rentals.” — The Washington Post, Editorial Page Sept. 29, 2018

But don’t take our word for it, here are the facts: