D.C. tenants should look to their lease to see whether short-term rentals are prohibited. Tenants are responsible for any damage or other issues caused by their guests. D.C. may soon pass a law clarifying the rules.
As of July 1st, 2018, D.C. does not have a direct law addressing short-term rentals, such as Airbnb and Homeaway. However, it has some obscure laws for homeowners that seek to run a short-term rental from their home, basically requiring a business license and compliance with zoning laws. But the law is silent about renters, is not very clear, and is not frequently enforced. Furthermore, landlords will typically be responsible for violations by their tenants.
In practicality, tenants should look to the lease to see whether the landlord prohibits short-term rentals. Failure to abide by a lease could result in an eviction, although it’s rare for tenants to be evicted for failing to follow such rules (it rarely affects the landlord’s bottom line).
Responsibility for Damages
Unless the tenant and landlord have come to a different agreement, the tenant is responsible for any damages caused by their guests. The tenants are also accountable for noise-related issues, theft of their own property, and nearly any other problem caused by the guest.
Changes to Law
In late 2017 and early 2018, some bills have been proposed that will clarify the rules of Airbnb. Please check local news and regulations for the latest updates on whether there are newly passed rules on short-term renting. http://www.subletalert.com/understanding-dcs-airbnb-rules/
State and Local Laws
Laws differ heavily by state, county, and city. Use RenterPeace to see more specific laws for to a given apartment and to see comments from people in your area.
Documenting the Problem
For most problems, tenants should document their issues, notify their landlord (document this too!), and stay informed about their rights. Renterpeace is a free website that helps with each step of this process. Tenants use RenterPeace to more easily see applicable laws, track their problems, and much more. There's a reason RenterPeace was selected "Best of" legal apps for both Android and iOS. It also includes household management tools, like a chore manager and bill tracker. Try it - you don't even to login first.
Using Property Management
To stay updated and organized about the problems in their apartments, landlords should use a property management system. Many are expensive or have high setup fees, but using RenterPeace for landlords is free. It's complete with legal compliance tips targeted to their problems, maintenance tracking, tenant screening, money-saving grant information, and tenant chat. It makes managing properties easier and staying updated about status of rental properties a breeze. Try it today.