Change We Can Believe In Permanently

Good idea from DC Mayor Adrian Fenty:

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.

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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.

Not only is this a good idea, but I agree with Ryan Avent that it’s such a good idea that we should make it permanent. The sample contract idea is a real public service, and the regulatory barrier here isn’t doing very much to stop abuses, but is doing something to restrict the supply of housing available to people. And rather than expending money enforcing and implementing the rule requiring a business license, the money could be spent directly enforcing the rules against specific kinds of abusive treatment of tenants.