On February 25, 2020, the Henrico County Board of Supervisors adopted a new ordinance regulating short-term rentals of real estate for periods of fewer than 30 consecutive days. This permission is limited to the One-Family Residence Districts (R-0, R-0A, R-1, R-1A, R-2, R-2A, R-3, R-3A, R-4, and R-4A) and the A-1 Agricultural District, and only where the property is the primary residence of the owner. Short-term rental is allowed by right, with no additional zoning approval, if it meets the following criteria:
(i) the property owner remains at the property during the rental (“hosted stay”),
(ii) the short-term renters lodge in the principal dwelling (not a guesthouse),
(iii) the property is on a lot with 80 feet or more of road frontage,
(iv) no more than six short-term renters occupy the property during the rental, and
(v) the property is used as a short-term rental no more than 60 days in a calendar year.
Short-term rentals that do not meet the above criteria may be approved by the Board of Zoning Appeals through a conditional use permit.
All short-term rentals are subject to regulations limiting the number of short-term renters and pets, the hours when check-in and check-out services may be offered, and other commercial uses on the property. The ordinance prohibits double-booking and requires provision of life-safety equipment consistent with the building code, posting of certain information within the rental, designation of adults to respond to complaints, keeping of records of short-term rentals, and provision of off-street parking.
The Planning Commission and staff worked on this issue for over two years. The process included ten work sessions and three public hearings. Two bulk mailings were sent to notify interested parties: one included 275 addresses and the other 350. Our efforts were also covered by the local news media. Many citizens did not want the County to allow short-term rentals under any circumstances. Many others wanted short-term rentals to be allowed without limitations. The County developed these regulations as a way to balance the needs and rights of property owners with the protection of established neighborhoods.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Does my home qualify for short-term rentals?
A: Short-term rentals are allowed only in the owner’s primary residence, and only in certain zoning districts. Some rentals are allowed by right, with no additional zoning approval, while others require a conditional use permit from the Board of Zoning Appeals.
Q: Do I need a conditional use permit to offer my home for short-term rental?
A: A conditional use permit from the Board of Zoning Appeals is required for any of the following:
- Unhosted stays (property owner not at home during the rental)
- More than 60 days per year
- More than 6 guests at a time
- Property with less than 80 feet of street frontage
- Rental of a guesthouse or other detached building
The County will notify the neighbors and hold a public hearing. The Board of Zoning Appeals may approve or deny the request, and may impose conditions based on the specific location and other factors.
Q: How much does it cost to register for short-term rental?
A: The registry fee is $200. When a conditional use permit is required, that application fee is $300.
Q: How do I complain about my neighbor’s short-term rentals?
A: In an emergency, dial 911. In all other cases, call the Department of Community Revitalization, (804) 501-4757. During office hours (Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 4:30 pm), you should be able to speak to a zoning inspector who will take the necessary information and follow up with enforcement action.
After office hours and on weekends, leave a message including your name and contact information, the location and nature of the violation, and a brief explanation of any specific harm done by the violation. A zoning inspector will call back to confirm the necessary information and follow up with you.
You can also register a complaint on the Build Henrico portal. If you register as a user, you can track the response to your complaint.
Q: How does this ordinance affect homeowners associations that do not allow short-term rentals?
A: Under the Code of Virginia, zoning regulations do not affect covenants adopted by a homeowners association or condominium association. We have also heard from some HOAs that they would like to amend their covenants to regulate short-term rentals. We have compiled some information that may be helpful. We do not provide legal advice to private associations, and we recommend obtaining the services of a licensed attorney to address this issue.
If you have any comments regarding the proposed ordinances or the information on this page, please contact us at (804) 501-4602, [email protected] or P. O. Box 90775, Henrico, VA 23273.