Arlington to Ask Public to Weigh-in on Short-Term Residential Rental

Published on September 27, 2016

  • Staff to develop proposed Zoning Ordinance amendment for short-term residential rentals

  • County Board to consider setting public hearings at October 15 meeting

  • Outreach effort to stakeholders, community planned before Board votes at December 10 meeting

  • Goal is to protect character of Arlington's neighborhoods, ensure public health and safety

The Arlington County Board today took a step toward regulating short-term residential rentals through online platforms such as Airbnb, Craigslist and others, directing the County Manager to develop a proposed Zoning Ordinance amendment and a community outreach plan to address the issue.

The Board will consider a Request to Advertise for public hearings on the proposed Zoning Ordinance amendment at its Oct. 15, 2016 meeting and will hold a public hearing and vote on the issue at its December 10, 2016 meeting.

"We have several goals for regulating short-term residential rentals," said Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey. "We want to protect the character of Arlington's neighborhoods, ensure public safety for our community, reduce barriers for those who already are or may want to use their homes as short-term rentals in a legal and responsible manner and provide a mechanism for enforcement."

Short-term rentals in Arlington

As of September 2016, Arlington had 986 properties listed on Airbnb (based on data from Airdna). The Arlington County Zoning Office has received both questions from those interested in legally participating in short-term residential rentals and complaints about some now being rented.

Community outreach

The County Manager will present an outreach plan at the October 15, 2016 County Board Meeting that will include opportunities for input on key elements of the short-term residential rental zoning provisions from interested stakeholders across the community, including advisory groups, commissions, businesses, and residents.


In 2016, the Virginia General Assembly considered legislation that would have precluded local governments from enforcing any local zoning laws restricting the establishment of short-term residential rentals in any zoning district where residential uses are permitted. It would also have kept the identity of short-term rental properties hidden and precluded local governments from collecting and auditing Transient Occupancy Taxes, as they would for any other lodging property. A version of the legislation passed in the 2016 session, but the Governor referred it to the Virginia Housing Commission to study and create draft legislation for consideration in the 2017 session. The Virginia Housing Commission has created the Short-Term Rental Work Group for this purpose.

"We do not know at this time, what the new legislation will include, and thus the impacts on local government ability to regulate short-term rentals," County Manager Mark Schwartz said in remarks to the Board. "We do know that there has been a demand from the community, including short term rental hosts, asking for rules on how to operate legally. By acting prior to the end of December 2016, the County can help inform the State's ultimate decision."


For more information and updates on this topic, please visit the page for Short-Term Residential Rentals.