Department of Planning and Development

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Regular hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday - Friday. Check the DPD Operating Status webpage for more information.

TTY 711

12055 Government Center Parkway
Fairfax, VA 22035

Leslie Johnson,
Zoning Administrator

Short-Term Lodging in Fairfax County

airbnb checkin Short-term lodging (STL), also known as short-term rental (STR), is any occupancy of a dwelling for a period of less than 30 days. Prior to the adoption of the Short-Term Lodging Amendment, the Zoning Ordinance did not permit such uses in any dwelling unit. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors adopted the Short-Term Lodging Zoning Ordinance Amendment on July 31, 2018. 

The new standards went into effect on Oct. 1, 2018, and short-term lodging operators must apply for a new $200 two-year administrative permit. The standards do not bar homeowners or community associations from prohibiting short-term lodgings within their subdivision or development.

Please Note: All applications must identify an Authorized Agent to be considered complete and to be processed. By signing the application, the Authorized Agent agrees to be available and responsible to address issues or emergencies during any Short-Term Lodging stay—including those where the STL Operator is not present.

Short-Term Lodging Standards

Short-term rentals use standards:

Short-term lodging is allowed in single-family homes, townhouses, condos, manufactured homes, and apartments in accordance with the following use standards:

  • A dwelling or manufactured home may be used for STL for no more than 60 nights per calendar year.
  • The maximum number of lodgers per night may not exceed six adults, except where the Uniform Statewide Building Code requires fewer occupants. 
  • The maximum number of rental contracts per night is one. All lodgers occupying a STL must be associated with the same rental contract.
  • Events and activities—including luncheons, banquets, parties, weddings, meetings, fund raising, commercial or advertising activities, and any other gathering of persons other than the authorized lodgers, whether for direct or indirect compensation—are prohibited in association with any STL.
  • All advertisements for STL, posted on any platform online or in any other format, must include the STL permit number and identify the location of the required parking space and any other available parking or public transportation options.
  • Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) must be collected for each rental contract. Operators must file a monthly return and remit the transient occupancy tax due to the Department of Tax Administration on or before the last day of the month following the reporting month. A monthly return must be filed even if no taxes are due. Hosting platforms DO NOT file and remit TOT taxes to Fairfax County. Additionally, if gross receipts exceed $10,000 per calendar year, a Business Professional and Occupational License (BPOL) is required.
  • STL is prohibited in a detached accessory structure, accessory living unit, temporary family health care structure, affordable dwelling unit, or workforce dwelling unit.

A dwelling or manufactured home used for STL must:

  • The County may inspect the property during reasonable hours and in accordance with 8106.2.D of the Zoning Ordinance.
  • Comply with the requirements of the applicable version of the Uniform Statewide Building or Virginia Manufactured Home Safety Regulations, as determined by the Building Official.
  • Have a working multi-purpose fire extinguisher and interconnected smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors (when required for a fireplace or gas service).
  • Have a plan posted inside the door of each sleeping room showing the exit pathway from the sleeping room used for STL to the nearest exit from the dwelling or manufactured home.
  • Have one designated off-street parking space available for lodgers, which the Operator has the authority to reserve for STL purposes.

A STL Operator must:

  • Be a permanent resident of the property hosting the STL use, as demonstrated at the time of application for a permit to operate the STL.
  • Obtain written consent from the owner of the property for the STL use (when applicable).
  • Assume responsibility for determining whether any regulations, prohibitions, and covenants applicable to the dwelling or manufactured home prohibit STL.
  • Designate at least one person who consents to serve as an Authorized Agent for the STL operator.
  • Maintain a guest log including the name, address, and telephone number of all overnight lodgers. The guest log must be made available upon request to any County employee or agent tasked with enforcing the Zoning Ordinance or other applicable part of the County Code.  

Status Update on STL Ordinance

This memorandum provides an update on the Short-Term Lodging (STL) Ordinance in response to the follow-on motion adopted by the Board on July 31, 2018, in conjunction with the adoption of the STL Zoning Ordinance Amendment. The follow-on motion requested that staff monitor and report back on the effectiveness of the STL regulations 18 months from the effective date of the ordinance (October 1, 2018, through March 31, 2020). Due to Covid-19 related challenges in obtaining information and other priorities, the reporting period was extended through July 31, 2020. This item is listed on the 2020 Zoning Ordinance Amendment Work Program (Item 10A).

View Status Update Memorandum on the Short-Term Lodging (STL) Ordinance (September 21, 2020) 

Related Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Short-Term Lodging Amendment - Adopted Text

Short-Term Lodging Informational Flyer

STL Proposed Amendment Outreach

Contact Us

For questions regarding the operation of STL's:

Please contact the Zoning Administration Division at 703-324-1314, TTY 711 or email us.

For concerns or complaints:

Please contact the Dept. of Code Compliance at 703-324-1300, TTY 711 or email us.

For tax-related questions:

Please contact the Dept. of Tax Administration at 703-222-8234, TTY 711 or email us.

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