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. Specifically, this ordinance allows hosted short-term rentals by right in the R-0, R-0A, R-1, R-1A, R-2, R-2A, R-3, R-3A, R-4, and R-4A residential districts and A-1 agricultural district if (i) the property owner remains at the property during the rental, (ii) the short-term renters lodge in the principal dwelling, and 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. For all other short-term rentals in those districts, this ordinance requires the operator of the rental to obtain a conditional use permit. All short-term rentals are subject to regulations restricting other commercial uses and limiting rentals to the operator’s primary residence. The ordinance also limits the number of short-term renters and pets and the hours when check-in and check-out services may be offered. The ordinance prohibits rentals to minors and double-booking. The ordinance 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. For more information, see Sec. 24-4430 of the Zoning Ordinance.
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. The following information has been developed to help answer frequently asked questions:
Q: When will the regulations be effective?
A: The zoning regulations and registry ordinance are effective immediately. The tax provisions will be effective July 1, 2020. We anticipate there may be a rush of applications in a short period of time. In order to manage the resulting workload, the most enforcement actions will be postponed until after July 1, 2020.
Q: How much will it cost to register for short-term rental?
A: The annual registry fee is $200. When a conditional use permit is required, the proposed application fee is $300. After July 1, short-term rentals will also be required to pay transient occupancy tax of 8%.
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 the zoning districts that allow one-family dwellings. The following information will help you understand how the regulations apply to your property. We have also developed a checklist to help you walk through the process step by step.
Q: Do I need a conditional use permit to operate a 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 application fee is $300 in addition to the registration fee. The County will notify the neighbors and hold a public hearing. The Board of Zoning Appeals may approve the conditional use permit subject to conditions based on the specific location and other factors.
Q: How do I complain if my neighbor has short-term renters?
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 will follow up with enforcement actions.
Q: How will this new ordinance affect homeowners association that do not allow short-term rentals?
A: Under the Code of Virginia, these new 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, firstname.lastname@example.org or P. O. Box 90775, Henrico, VA 23273.