Accessory Homestay Permit

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Accessory homestay permits allow residents to host overnight guests for stays of less than 30 days in residential dwelling units that they reside in as their primary residence. Accessory homestays are a means for residents to utilize online booking platforms such as Airbnb, Craigslist and VRBO.

An accessory homestay permit is a special type of Home Occupation. In addition to meeting the applicable requirements of a traditional home occupation (detailed in Zoning Ordinance §12.9.11), there are specific regulations which apply exclusively to an accessory homestay.

Dwelling Unit & Submission Requirements

Accessory homestay permit applications must be submitted online.

  • You must complete an Accessory Homestay Permit Application in Permit Arlington.
    • From the Create drop-down menu, select Zoning Application.
    • View Permit Arlington Help for assistance with the online system.
  • Accessory homestay permits expire one year from the date of issuance. To continue operating after this date, providers must file another accessory homestay application. The current accessory homestay permit number must be included on the renewal application. Once a renewal permit has been issued, providers must notify the Commissioner of Revenue (COR) of their new permit number in order to update their business license and Transit Occupancy Tax (TOT) accounts.
  • The applicant must occupy the dwelling unit (for which the permit is being sought) as their primary residence. The dwelling unit must be occupied for at least 185 days per year.
    • Proof of residency must be submitted with the permit application. Acceptable documents proving residency include copies of a drivers’ license, voter registration card, or executed lease (for renters).
  • All rented bedrooms must be in the main building of the dwellings. Accessory homestay permits will be issued for detached accessory buildings which have been approved as an Accessory Dwelling.
  • An accessory homestay permit may be sought for dwellings which include an accessory dwelling unit. However, both the main dwelling unit and the accessory dwelling unit must be rented under a single contract, and no more than 3 lodgers may stay in the accessory dwelling unit.
  • The maximum permitted occupancy is 6 lodgers total, or 2 lodgers per bedroom, whichever number is greater. Under no circumstances shall occupancy exceed what is permitted under the Building Code.
    • For example: every living room shall contain at least 120 sq. ft. of floor area and every bedroom shall contain at least 70 sq. ft. of floor area. Every bedroom occupied by more than one person shall contain at least 50 sq. ft. of floor area for each occupant.
  • For multi-family buildings, read the Chief Building Official’s Code Interpretation.
    • Accessory homestay permits do not exempt any dwelling from the rules or restrictions imposed and enforced by condominium or homeowners’ associations to which the property may be subject to. Likewise, renters may be subject to additional rules or restrictions under the terms of their lease which are not preempted by an accessory homestay permit).
  • Any dwelling being used for an accessory homestay must contain working fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors (if required as part of the original building).
  • Commercial meetings (including banquets, luncheons, parties, weddings, etc.) are not permitted.
  • For questions about accessory homestay permits, contact the Zoning Division: 703-228-3883

Business License Requirements

All accessory homestay providers must register as a business with the COR. Business licenses can be applied for online and in person.

  • Register online (select Register a Business)
  • Register in person at 2100 Clarendon Blvd, Suite 208
  • For accessory homestays, the “section code” for the business license is “72.A – Lodging”
  • For questions about business license requirements, contact COR: 703-228-3060

You must obtain business license and Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) accounts (County Code Ch. 40) from COR. For more information about taxes and business licenses, contact the Business Tax Division of COR. In the event that a renewal accessory homestay permit is issued, providers must notify COR of their new permit number in order to update their business license and Transit Occupancy Tax (TOT) accounts.


Fee Schedules provide the range of fees charged for each type of application or activity related to land development in Arlington. Fees cover permitting, plan review, enforcement, inspection, service delivery, performance agreements and conditions. There are separate fee schedules for Inspection Services Division (ISD), Zoning and the Department of Environmental Services (DES). Some permits involve fees from more than one schedule.

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