Affordable Housing in Washington, DC: The Impact of Short-Term Rentals and Possible Solutions
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On January 21, 2017, Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, Ward 5, introduced B22-0092, a bill to impose new regulations on short-terming housing rentals—i.e. Airbnb and others—in order to protect affordable housing supply in the District of Columbia. The bill received a first hearing at City Council on April 26, 2017 and has received widespread attention and response from affordable housing activists, the hotel industry, and those who support the availability of short-term rentals. Washington, DC joins New York City and San Francisco, two other cities with considerable housing costs and affordable housing shortages, in a debate that is only likely to expand to other jurisdictions in the coming years. This capstone details the affordable housing shortage in Washington, DC and examines the impact of the rise in popularity of short-term rentals on the affordable housing supply. Using case studies from legislation already in cities like New York and San Francisco, this capstone analyzes the Short-term Rental Regulation and Affordable Housing Protection Act of 2017 to determine whether it is likely to be successful in mitigating the impact short-term rentals have on affordable housing supply. The analysis suggests this proposal is unlikely to achieve its stated goal and it is recommended that councilmembers vote against the proposal. Paul Weinstein, Director of the Public Management Program, was the advisor for this capstone project.