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Planning Department Held Community Meeting on July 18 to Brainstorm Proposed Short-Term Residential Rental Regulations

July 27, 2016

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Attendees provided feedback on future legislation governing short-term rentals offered by companies such as Airbnb, HomeAway and others

SILVER SPRING, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, held a public meeting on Monday, July 18 from 7 to 9 p.m. at its headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD) to discuss regulation of online-advertised, short-term home rentals, such as Airbnb, and receive feedback from the community about the issue.

View the video recap here. The full recording will be available online shortly.

More than 60 people attended the event, listened to presentations by industry representatives and offered feedback on issues ranging from existing illegal short-term residential rentals to the benefits of allowing this type of use in the County. Of particular concern was the possible impact of short-term residential rentals on residential neighborhoods. Learn more about short-term residential rentals.

What is a short-term residential rental? 

Online services such as Airbnb, Flipkey, HomeAway and VRBO connect homeowners and property managers with travelers who seek the amenities of a home for a short-term rental stay. Currently, a short-term residential rental (less than a month, typical of companies like Airbnb) is not allowed in Montgomery County unless the property has been approved for use as a bed and breakfast. However, the County allows a homeowner to rent out a home, or part of a home, for 30 days or longer.

What type of laws are being proposed to regulate short-term rentals?

The County Council is considering expanding the opportunities for short-term tenancy so homeowners can participate in the sharing economy. The Council introduced legislation (ZTA 16-03) in February 2016 to relax the requirements on short-term rentals. As proposed, this new law would allow Airbnb or other, similar short-term residential rentals, but with some limitations.  ZTA 16-03 was introduced in conjunction with Bill 2-16, which would update the licensing requirements for all transient housing, including a bed and breakfast.

After holding a public hearing on ZTA 16-03 and Bill 2-16, the County Council requested that the Planning Department reach out to County residents and stakeholders to seek their input regarding the regulation of short-term residential rentals. As part of this effort, staff has provided examples of regulations adopted by other jurisdictions locally and nationally that may be helpful in crafting new legislation in Montgomery County.

Once planners have gathered additional information on the topic and provided outreach, they will present recommendations to the Planning Board and County Council.