Airbnb, the popular online marketplace that offers homestays, ended up winning a victory at the end of a years-long legal process in the District of Columbia, following a decision by the D.C. Zoning Commission on Thursday.
The Commission approved emergency rules granting permission for short-term rentals up to 30 days at a time in residential neighborhoods, WAMU reported.
The regulation paves the way for Airbnb, as well as other home-sharing platforms such as HomeAway, and VRBO, to legally offer booking services in D.C.
In late 2018, the D.C. Council passed a law, allowing individuals to use the services to rent out a room or another part of their property for short periods of time, after receiving a business license. The homeowner cannot use second and third homes for short-term rentals, as per the law.
The legislation was initially planned to go into effect on October 1. However, zoning laws were banning Airbnb and the others from operating in residential areas. Enforcement of the law was delayed until the D.C. Zoning Commission’s hearing on the issue.
“All the pieces of the puzzle are together except for that one outstanding piece of the Zoning Commission,” Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, who wrote the bill, told WAMU earlier this month.
With the Commission’s approval, short-term rentals are now permitted in residential neighborhoods. If the homeowner is present, there are no limits on short-term rentals. Otherwise, there is an annual cap of 90 days. Exceptions are possible if the person needs to travel for long periods of time because of their job.