Fairfax Co. OKs new rules for Airbnb, other short-term rentals

WASHINGTON — After more than a year of study, Fairfax County, Virginia has approved new rules for people who rent out their homes through websites, such as Airbnb and FlipKey.

The new rules approved by the county board of supervisors Tuesday go into effect starting Oct. 1.

Under the new rules, owners and renters can rent out their primary residence for up to 60 nights per calendar year.

No more than six people will be able to stay in a rental at one time, and they all have to know each other and book under one contract.

People who rent out their homes must identify an “authorized agent,” who will be available to help guests address problems that come up while a property is being rented.

Each short-term rental must have at least one designated parking space for guests and the rental listing must identify the location of the parking space, according to the new rules.

If you live in the county and are interested in renting out your place, in order to comply with the new rules you’ll have to buy a $200 permit good for two years.

When the new rules kick in, people who rent out their residences will have to pay transient occupancy taxes, which the county estimates would generate more than $428,000 a year. Of that, nearly $250,000 would go to the county’s coffers, while the rest would be used to support tourism and regional transportation.

Until the board of supervisors’ vote Tuesday, short-term rentals were not officially covered by Fairfax County zoning rules, although the county estimated there are currently at least 1,500 active listings on Airbnb and other short-term rental sites.

New regulations on short-term rentals took effect July 1 in both Loudoun County, Virginia and Montgomery County, Maryland.

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