Alexandria proposes registry for short-term rentals; public hearing set

WASHINGTON — If you share your home with short-term rental platforms such as Airbnb in Alexandria, Virginia, you could soon be required to register with the city.

“One of the problems with the home-sharing program right now, there’s not a good database out there that says exactly how many there are in the city,” said Kevin Greenlief, Alexandria’s assistant director of finance and revenue.

Short-term residential rentals in Alexandria are subject to regional and local transient lodging taxes of 8.5 percent and state and local sales taxes of 6 percent.

“(Registering would) basically level the playing field in terms of rentals and make sure everyone is paying their fair share on the taxes,” Greenlief said.

Alexandria joins other D.C. area localities that have or are considering law or rule adjustments to accommodate the current residential renting market presented by platforms such as Airbnb, Craigslist, Expedia, FlipKey, HomeAway, TripAdvisor, and VRBO.

City residents can attend a public hearing on the registration proposal at 7 p.m., Oct. 17 at the Charles Houston Recreation Center on Wythe Street.

“If the public has any concerns or issues or comments about the Airbnb process, the home-sharing process, and the registry process and the taxation — we just want to give them a forum,” Greenlief said.

Alexandria staff proposals for the City Council to consider should be ready by November with possible implementation by January.

A Virginia law passed this year allows localities to require registration of short-term rentals.

“(The registry) doesn’t change any existing agreements or contracts out there such as HOA rules or condo declarations. Those separately may restrict the ability to do Airbnb or home sharing,” Greenlief said.

Meanwhile, Fairfax County is exploring zoning rules for short-term rentals and will hold a public hearing from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday in conference rooms 9 and 10 at the Government Center. Proposed changes are expected to go to the board of supervisors for consideration by early next year.

Earlier this week in Maryland, the Montgomery County Council voted unanimously to allow rentals all year long if the homeowner lives on the property, or up to four months a year if homeowners are not on the premises.

A D.C. bill to amend regulations on short-term rentals is currently under council review.

In Prince George’s County, rules for short-term rentals will be considered next year.

“The administration is currently developing a regulatory regime for short-term rentals and we are looking to introduce this to our County Council in January for consideration,” said Brad Frome, who works on economic development issues for the county executive’s office.

Arlington County adjusted zoning ordinances to cover short-term residential rentals last January.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report.

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