Fenty to Suspend Housing Rental Regulations for Inauguration
Mayor Adrian M. Fenty signed an executive order today to suspend District regulations and allow residents to rent their properties for the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama without obtaining a business license or a certificate of occupancy.
The move is aimed at satisfying the record demand for housing from out-of-town visitors who plan to attend the Jan. 20 ceremony and week-long festivities. The mayor's order will suspend the regulations on rentals from Jan. 13 through Jan. 27.
At a news conference, D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles and Linda Argo, director of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, also said they would develop a sample contract and post it on the city's Web site for people to use as templates as they make rental deals.
Officials have said they expect more people to attend Obama's swearing-in ceremony on the Mall than the record 1.2 million who attended Lyndon B. Johnson's inaugural.
Only a few hundred of the District's 29,000 hotel rooms remain available for inauguration week, said Victoria Isley, spokeswoman for Destination DC, a city tourism organization. Thousands of residents in the Washington region have posted on-line advertisements on sites such as Craigslist, offering their rooms, apartments, condos and homes for rent for as much as $20,000.
(The Post today brought you a cautionary tale about such rentals.)
Fenty said his wife's family and other friends are crashing at his house for inauguration week. "But I won't charge them," he said with a laugh.
But requiring thousands of novices to file for such licenses, along with property inspections by the regulatory agency, would be unnecessarily burdensome and create confusion, officials said.
Still, city officials and lawyers warned that both sides should be cautious when entering into an agreement and be as specific as possible about price, expectations, security deposits, length of stay and the condition of the rental unit.
"Human nature being what it is, there's usually a misunderstanding," said Kenneth Loewinger, an attorney who specializes in landlord-tenant issues.
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