3/21/17 – Housing Battle

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There’ll be a showdown in Washington, DC city chambers next month.

Here’s what’s happening behind the headlines.

Hotel workers unions and private homeowners are squaring off over the increase of AirBnB and similar services. These are home-sharing services in which owners lease rooms for short stays. The model is more like a bed and breakfast than it is a hotel.

The shared economy such as Uber, Lyft and AirBnB has grown in recent years. Much of this is due to the struggling economy in the past decade.

Many people use these part-time business opportunities to make ends meet.

The looming battle in DC underscores how bad policy contributes to housing shortages. Here’s how it works. City officials restrict building opportunities for new housing. This limits supply in the face of high demand thereby boosting rent. In response, city officials impose rent control. Causing some owners seek other options.

Adams Morgan is one of DC’s chi-chi neighborhoods that has rent control.

Entrepreneurs are listing their properties on AirBnB and like services. This has upset groups representing hotel workers. They argue it violates the spirit of rent control regulations.

This has caused a DC city councilman to introduce an ordinance to restrict home-sharing services.

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