Fairfax County Seeks Your Input on Short-Term Property Rentals

Date: July 5, 2017

Fairfax County Seeks Your Input on Short-Term Property Rentals
[Link to Online Survey Below]

The Virginia General Assembly passed Senate Bill 1578, which gives localities the authority to establish standards and require registration of Short-Term Rentals (defined as the rental of residential space that is intended for occupancy for fewer than 30 consecutive days).  The regulations affect short-term rentals through online services such as Airbnb, Craigslist, VRBO and other similar services and may be prohibited by your association's restrictive covenants. 

The Board of Supervisors for Fairfax County has created a working group to draft zoning regulations for Short-Term Rentals in the County and to establish a registry. The working group is seeking input from community members who have a vested interest in this issue.  

Below is a link to Fairfax County's online survey, which will be available until August 31, 2017: 

Who should be interested?      

Homeowners, residents, volunteer Board members, anyone with a stake in any residential condominium or homeowners' association located in Fairfax County who may be impacted by short-term rentals in the community.

Why should I be concerned?      

It is imperative that any zoning amendments and regulations adopted by the County clearly state that residents may be subject to additional rules or restrictions relating to the short-term rental of residential property imposed or enforced by a condominium or homeowners association.  Without such clarification, there is a greater likelihood that the County's ordinance will lead to confusion, an increase in covenant violations relating to prohibited short-term rentals, and result in the need for enforcement action by common interest community associations.  

Most condominium covenants restrict short term rentals as many lenders and the FHA certification process prohibit rental of units for less than six months or use of units as hotels.  These restrictive covenants are important, therefore, to make sure that financing is available for purchasers in a condominium.  While Fairfax County allowing short term rentals does not make these restrictive covenants unenforceable, owners may be more likely to try and contest the applicability of the covenants if Fairfax County allows short term renting.  It is important, therefore, that any short term rental zoning ordinance states clearly that owners must check with their condominium or homeowners association prior to renting because the association may have more restrictive limitations on short term rentals.

If you have questions regarding this issue, you may contact Fairfax County at 703-324-1314, TTY 711, or you may email your comments or concerns to:  The public hearing schedule for this issue has not yet been scheduled.  

If you have any questions for the attorneys at Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, LLP, regarding this or any other issue, please feel free to contact us at any time.