People looking to cash in with room rentals, sublets during pope's DC visit
WASHINGTON - In less than a week, Pope Francis is expected to visit the District. For the faithful, it's a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the leader of the Catholic Church. But the Pontiff's visit is also driving entrepreneurship among the business-minded.
“We seem to be that kind of city,” said Ade Oguntala, a D.C. homeowner. “When Olivia Pope got big with ‘Scandal,’ there was Olivia Pope drinks. That’s just kind of D.C. and the way D.C. does it.”
A slew of rooms for rent and sublets have popped up on sites like Craigslist and Airbnb with rates going for hundreds of dollars a night.
“I was amazed,” said Oguntala on listings that she’s seen. “I saw anywhere from $500 to $900 and … nothing in between there being anywhere even remotely close to the location,”
Oguntala owns a condo on Varnum Street in Northeast D.C. and is walking distance to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. She is asking $350 a night.
She hopes to eventually have a permanent tenant in one of her units, so she's already getting the required permits.
“There are a number of steps that are required and I wanted to make sure I do it correctly and that I’m legal so there are no issue,” she said.
But people should lease at their own risk because the city requires permits. Approval is needed from management companies when subletting in apartment buildings.
As a flood of locals and tourists expected in the District, you can bet money will be made -- from room rentals to souvenirs and even pope-themed food.
“It’s going to be crazy,” said Oguntala. “Luckily, I work for the government so we're all going to be teleworking.”