Short-Term Residental Rentals


Short-Term Residential Rentals

The Montgomery County Council has asked Planning Department Staff to reach out to the community and other stakeholders for feedback on short-term residential rental (STRR) agreements, such as AirbnbFlipkeyHomeway, and VRBO, in order to help draft legislation affecting this use. Currently, the County’s Zoning Ordinance does not allow for short-term residential rentals of less than one month, unless the home has been approved for use as a Bed and Breakfast. The Council has directed Planning staff to make recommendations on best practices only after community outreach is conducted to engage stakeholders in discussing this issue. Once planners have gathered additional information on the topic and provided outreach, they will present recommendations to the Planning Board and County Council.

With the rise of the sharing economy, and the economic and social benefits to residents of sharing resources, short-term rental activity continues to grow. This increased activity has led the Council to work toward modifying short-term rental laws, and prompted an examination of parameters to regulate short-term rentals and establish a pathway to legalize this activity.

Some critics have noted that widespread conversion of residential housing to short-term rentals, when taken to extremes, could result in the loss of housing for permanent residents. The overall intent of any proposed legislation is to strike a balance in recognizing the demand for short-term tenancy of residential property, while minimizing negative impacts on the residential character of existing neighborhoods.

Video of July 18 community meeting:



In May 2015, County Council enacted a bill (Expedited Bill 14-15) that requires short-term renters to pay the same tax required of hotel guests. In February 2016, the Council introduced proposed legislation (zoning text amendment ZTA 16-03) to allow short-term residential rentals under certain parameters. The ZTA was introduced in conjunction with Bill 2-16, which would update the licensing requirements for all transient housing, including a bed and breakfast.

The Planning Board suggested a different approach to ZTA 16-03, but advised the Council that very little time was provided for the community to discuss the issue (view the transmittal letter and staff report here [PDF]). After holding a public hearing on ZTA 16-03 and Bill 2-16, the County Council requested that the Planning Department research best practices across the country and reach out to County residents and stakeholders to provide opportunities for their input in establishing new regulations.

Under current zoning laws, a home, or part of a home, may be rented out on a monthly or longer basis. Property owners may not rent “or loan for no charge” a dwelling or a room for less than a month unless the home is approved for use as a Bed and Breakfast. Bed and Breakfasts are only allowed in detached houses, and they are subject to specific standards.


Past Meetings

Last Updated: March 16, 2017