A short-term rental (STR), also known as short-term lodging (STL), is any occupancy of a dwelling for a period of less than thirty days. The Zoning Ordinance currently does not permit such uses in any dwelling unit and only allows short-term overnight stays as a hotel/motel or bed and breakfast, both of which could require a rezoning or special exception. The Code of Virginia was changed in 2017 to allow localities to require the registration of STRs. In order to implement the registration, the Zoning Ordinance would need to be revised to specify the parameters under which short-term rentals could be allowed. County staff have developed options for the Board’s consideration and potential adoption after extensive public input.
In 2017, the General Assembly enacted Virginia Code § 15.2-983, affirming a locality’s right to regulate the short-term rental of property through its general land use and zoning authority. As a result of this law, on March 14, 2017, the Board of Supervisors (Board) directed staff to form a workgroup to analyze the short-term rental of property in Fairfax County and recommend possible changes to the County Code and Zoning Ordinance. Staff from the Department of Planning and Zoning (DPZ), the Department of Code Compliance (DCC), the Department of Tax Administration (DTA), the County Attorney’s Office (OCA), the County Executive’s Office (CEO) and the Office of Public Affairs (OPA) comprised the County’s workgroup.
The proposed regulations are intended to allow limited STL operations, balancing the interests of residents in protecting the character of their neighborhoods with the interest of residents who want to operate STLs in their residences. In crafting the restrictions on STL use, staff took into consideration the particular concerns citizens and stakeholders voiced during the outreach process.
- As proposed, the regulations would only allow property owners or renters to offer their primary residence as short-term lodging. This limitation is to prevent businesses from operating multiple, full-time rentals, like a hotel or motel, in residential neighborhoods.
- Guests would be limited to six adults, and the lodgers must all be associated with the same rental contract to prevent multiple rentals of a property at the same time.
- To protect neighborhoods, properties may not be rented for events or commercial purposes like parties, weddings or fundraisers.
- The proposal also caps the maximum number of nights short-term lodgings may be rented out. The rules would allow for up to 180 calendar days, but zoning officials are recommending a 90-night limit or 25 percent of a year.
- The Planning Commission and the Board will also consider whether property owners or renters must be present in their home or apartment when it is used as a short-term lodging.
We want your input to help us develop the proposed zoning regulations and Short-Term Rental Registry: