I have stayed in AirBnB’s before when traveling. They have been really convenient, nice “homes away from home” where we had a kitchen if we wanted to stock up with some eggs and toast for breakfast in the morning, had big sectional couches for an afternoon nap after a long day of sightseeing, and a great way to feel like you are “living as the locals do” for a few days without coming and going to a big lobby in a hotel that feels like it could be anywhere.
But AirBnB’s are not without controversy. Many cities are enacting legislation to restrict the owners of properties and their ability to rent them out for AirBnB. For example, here in Washington D.C., the laws are changing so that only a property where the owner itself lives on the property can rent out another portion of the property (a carriage house or an English basement in a row home). If you own a house down the street, technically you won’t be able to AirBnB it out anymore. Not unless you live in some portion of it.
There are questions out there as to how will this be enforced, what will be the fines, and how many people will ignore it and do it anyway? There are strong feelings as to why are these laws are being enacted, and what right does the government have to dictate how property owners use their properties. Some have said that the legislation is needed to protect homebuyers from having to compete with the individuals that buy up all kinds of properties with the sole intent of short term renting them, but with the benefit of not having to pay taxes on them like a hotel would.
With any new type of business, eventually comes regulation and formal tax structure. When automobiles were first introduced, there was little precedent for laws and regulation, and only over time did we eventually have speed limits, one-way streets, stop signs, seatbelt laws, etc. It’s inevitable that this new type of business – an app based short term rental that brings user and homeowner together for a short term transaction – would eventually be subject to regulations and restrictions.
If you are interested in learning more about homeownership and the steps to becoming a homeowner,
Joseph Hudson is a Realtor with The Oakley Group at Compass. Reach him at 703-587-0597 or Joseph.firstname.lastname@example.org.