Housing Abuse: A National Crisis

The fight for affordable housing in the nation\’s capitol has been a vigorous battle, but the common people barley have a victory.  It has been a blow-by-blow hit for Washingtonian\’s trying to find affordable housing.  From Mayor Bowser\’s pilot housing voucher initiative, to having people stand in line to sign up for a subsidy or check the status of their initial housing voucher status. This temporary solution is far from a long term fix.

Apartel Living Invades The Nation

Here is the knock out punch, landlords have allegedly been renting out rent-controlled apartments, using them as hotels. According to Ginsoni\’s website, Washington holds a special place as far as a travel destination for both business and pleasure, and as long as you book your stay at either a Waterfront or Dupont Circle location before May, it will cost under $200.00 per night to stay.

With no visible infrastructure for regulation, it\’s possible for landlords to become instant millionaires.  In today\’s economy, being a millionaire means much. Not sure if it includes more tax breaks, but not paying taxes, you can find yourself being a \”wish I would have\” stayed a millionaire. Living in a city without representation and high taxes, this regulation can seem awkward to some, but having to figure out how to house residents of the District can penalize the city\’s budget in the end.

Before the Council hearing on short-term rental regulations, Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie and Attorney General Karl Racine announced a lawsuit had been filed against Ginsoni for consumer fraud.  The Office of Consumer Protection has filed a lawsuit against a company that operates apartments like hotel rooms, including some apartments that are rent-controlled.  The complaint also includes the owners and managers of four apartment complexes that are involved.

\”My office is using all of the tools available to us to preserve affordable housing for District resident,\” said Attorney General Racine.  \”We will aggressively pursue individuals and companies that seek to circumvent the District\’s rent-control laws, and we are actively investigating other instances where apartment managers or owners are treating rent-controlled apartments like hotel rooms and renting them out on sharing-economy platforms.\”

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