Legal Blog

Renting Out Your Home: The Rules on Short-Term Rentals

Summer is a great time to get away and enjoy the weather. With the rise of Airbnb and other rental websites, making money while you are away on your own trip is more accessible than ever. Local governments recently started to regulate the use of private homes as rental homes (just as hotels and motels are regulated). Before you rent out your home, check out the five facts/tips below:

  1. Virginia Code § 15.2-983 was enacted in 2017 and gives localities the authority to enact local ordinances/regulations for short-term rentals.
  2. Each locality has their own set of rules for short-term rentals (with certain states, such as New York, outwardly prohibiting short-term rentals). The applicable rule depends on where the property to be rented is located. Be sure to check your local rules (rather than checking the state code alone).
  3. As a matter of example, Fairfax County requires that property owners purchase permits ($200) for short-term lodging and pay Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT). Permits for short-term lodging limit rentals to no more than sixty (60) days.
  4. In addition to paying for a permit, Fairfax County property owners must maintain a fire extinguisher, maintain a parking space, and designate an authorized agent. Alexandria and Arlington have similar rules.
  5. Failure to abide by local rules/purchase of the applicable permit can result in significant fines and a revocation of the ability to rent out your property.

Given the nuances across jurisdictions, it is best to check the law and speak with an attorney before you start up your own private rental business. Compliance on the front end will result in less headache (and potentially more profits).


If you have any questions about this, please contact me at or 703-745-1849



Theodora Stringham assists individuals, businesses, and organizations with growing successfully while minimizing liability. Focusing on real estate and personnel needs, Ms. Stringham executes sustainable plans for real estate development and employee matters. She provides comprehensive representation for everyday growth issues, including, but not limited to, re-zonings, site plan approvals, eminent domain/valuation concerns, employment discrimination, and disciplinary issues. Ms. Stringham’s scope of representation ranges from identifying potential liability and providing counseling/trainings, all the way through representation at trial.






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