July 20, 2017

Should Every Airbnb Unit Be Inspected? DC Bill Would Require It

Smartphone Samsung Galaxy S6 open apps airbnb application on the screen on the desk.
Copyright: chonlachai / 123RF Stock Photo

When you stay in a hotel in Washington, D.C., your accommodations must meet a long list of inspection standards. Federal law says hotels must have exit signs, working smoke detectors and evacuation plans, plus sprinkler systems in buildings higher than three stories.

But when you stay in a short-term rental through a website like Airbnb, those same standards don’t apply.

That may soon change in D.C.

D.C. lawmakers are expected to cast an initial vote in July on a bill that would require health and safety inspections of all short-term rental units. If approved, the bill would establish some of the strictest regulations on Airbnb units in the country.

D.C. Councilman Kenyan McDuffie introduced the bill. He said Airbnb renters should have proof the properties meet basic safety standards — rather than having to rely only on previous renters’ reviews.

“We should take the guessing work out of it and make sure that the District of Columbia DCRA [Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs] weighs in on this process, to make sure that basic safety regulations are complied with,” he said Wednesday. “It’s serious and shouldn’t be left up to our guests.” D.C. Councilman Kenyan McDuffie has proposed regulating commercial Airbnb operators seen to […]

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