For George Washington University junior Jessica Schwartz, Jan. 20 is a great day to make money. Her three-bedroom townhouse on 25th and M streets is prime real estate in D.C.'s booming inauguration housing market.
With as many as four million out-of-town visitors expected for the presidential inauguration, students are finding that people are willing to pay thousands of dollars to stay in the city, giving those with extra room the opportunity to earn some extra money. There are an estimated 95,000 hotel rooms in the D.C. metropolitan area, most of which are completely booked. But with a wealth of private homes and apartments, visitors are not yet out of luck.
"I want to give people who do not live in D.C. the opportunity to witness history," Schwartz said. "Renting out a room in my townhouse will give them a place to stay, not to mention also make me a lot of money."
Schwartz hopes to make about $3,000 in two or three days, housing up to three people.
Some GW students may have difficulty renting out their apartments, however.
The Statesman apartment building on 21st and F streets informed residents last month that renting to inauguration visitors is prohibited.
"There have been some resident questions about subletting apartments within our community to event attendees," community manager Lisa Nanni said in a letter to residents. "While this event is exciting and will attract an enthusiastic crowd, we ultimately care about the safety and comfort of all our residents."
Nanni said it is not safe to have people staying in the building who have not undergone background checks.
Several people outside the Foggy Bottom Metro Station last week were advertising the site Inauguralhomes.com, and there are more than 1,000 inauguration housing posts on Craigslist.
"We're renting out space in our house as sort of a hostel situation," said a GW student's post on Craigslist, renting out space in a three-bedroom house. "We're going to take in probably 10 people at most to live with the people already in the townhouse We're just trying to get as many people into the city as possible, and 2000 for a weekend just seems ridiculous."
The post lists the price at $300 a night per person, while other posts yield quite different results. One post asks for $30,000 for six nights in a brownstone in the Ledroit Park neighborhood, and another asks $50,000 for a seven-bedroom home in Northwest D.C.
Seth Weinshel, director of GW Housing, has also made it clear that students in on-campus residence halls may not rent out their rooms.
"Students are not permitted to rent or sublet their space at anytime, under the terms of the housing license agreement," Weinshel said.
Housing announced a new policy last month that students will be required to register their inauguration guests before Dec. 12 and "only those guests will be allowed to stay in the room with the student."
"A student is always responsible for their guest, and a guest must be escorted by the host at all time," Weinshel said. "If a student breaks a policy, they can face judicial action."