Navigating D.C.’s Airbnb Rules & Regs

Posted by Incserv
August 30, 2016

We are pleased to share the below article written by Ms. Valerie M. Blake of Keller Williams Realty in Washington, DC. The article appeared on August 28, 2016 on the website Washington Blade. An excerpt of the article is displayed below. Please click on the link at the end of the excerpt to read the article in its entirety.

Thinking of renting your D.C. home on Airbnb? There’s a long list of rules and regulations to navigate.

Have you ever awakened in the middle of the night and stumbled into the bathroom only to find a stranger there? If so, then either you were very drunk the night before and forgot who you brought home or you may be renting part of your home with Airbnb.

Airbnb, Inc. was founded in San Francisco in August 2008 as a peer-to-peer (P2P) service to make short-term housing available to business and vacation travelers who prefer the ambiance of a home to the sterility of a hotel. Properties are now available to rent in nearly 200 countries worldwide.

Eight years later, however, we are still struggling with the legality, security and logistics of having strangers in our homes, which prompted the Short-term Rental Regulation and Housing Protection Act of 2015 (DC B-414) to be introduced in the D.C. Council on Sept. 22, 2015 by then-Council member Vincent Orange. The bill would regulate transient housing accommodations offering stays of less than 30 days and is still under review by the Council.

In the interim, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA)instructs a would-be Airbnb landlord to follow the current procedures for licensing a single unit property such as a house or condominium or, if applicable, a two-unit property such as the elusive rowhouse with English basement rental unit sought by many of today’s real estate buyers.

Each D.C. rental property must be properly licensed, meet the requirements of the D.C. Construction Codes and fall within the guidelines of any restrictive covenants placed on the property by a condominium, cooperative or homeowners association. Potential Airbnb landlords are often disappointed to find that their condo, co-op and HOA rules require a minimum lease of 12 months and that short-term rentals are prohibited.

A Basic Business License (BBL) is required for each property. An application for a two-year BBL must be filed with additional supporting documents and fees totaling slightly less than $200.

If you own your property as an entity such as a corporation, limited liability company (LLC) or partnership, then you may need to register with the Corporations Division of the DCRA before filing your BBL application.

Read the article in full

Special thanks again to Ms. Blake. She can be reached at 202-246-8602 or Each Keller Williams Realty office is independently owned and operated. Equal Housing Opportunity.

For assistance in Navigating through this process in Washington, DC contact our office at 202.386.7575 or

The information within this post is intended for general information purposes only. Incserv and its employees cannot offer legal or financial advice. Please consult with your legal counsel for assistance in how this information may or may not affect you and your business prior to making any decisions. The above information (and any attachments) should be judged accordingly.