|The Board of Supervisors meets in the Fairfax County Government Center.|
Those types of rentals are illegal in the county, although officials estimate there are at least 1,500 active, online listings for short-term lodging. Up to now, zoning rules only permitted transient occupancy – in hotels and bed-and-breakfasts – for no more than 30 days.
A state law that went into effect last year affirmed local governments’ authority to regulate short-term lodging.
The board’s action comes two weeks after a lengthy public hearing with dozens of people speaking on both sides of the issue. Some people spoke in favor of the right to earn an extra income, while others argued that allowing short-term rents would lead to more traffic, noise, and transients on quiet streets.
According to BoS Chair Sharon Bulova, the new rules aim to “strike the right balance between allowing short-term rentals to operate in Fairfax County under certain circumstances, while protecting the character and quiet enjoyment of residential neighborhoods.”
The new regulations give HOAs and community associations the authority to prohibit short-term lodging within their jurisdictions.
The new rules take effect Oct. 1. Starting on that date, short-term lodging operators must apply for a new $200 two-year zoning permit.
Short-term rentals will be allowed up to 60 days per calendar year in single-family homes, townhouses, condos, mobile homes, and apartments with these limitations:
- Owners or renters must be permanent residents of the property they are offering for short-term lodging. This rule is designed to prevent businesses from operating multiple, full-time rentals, such as a hotel or motel, in residential neighborhoods.
- Guests would be limited to six adults, the lodgers must all be associated with the same rental contract, and only one contract per night is allowed. This provision would prevent multiple rentals of a property by unrelated groups at the same time.
- Operators must identify an authorized agent, who will be available in addition to the operator, to address problems that arise while a property is being rented.
- Operators must have one designated parking space available for lodgers.
- Regardless of where posted, advertisements must include an operator’s short-term lodging permit number and identify the location of the required parking space and any other available parking.
- Properties may not be rented for events or commercial purposes like parties, weddings, or fundraisers.
- Properties must be made available for inspection by county code enforcement inspectors upon request, and properties must comply with state building safety rules.