Williamsburg city council approves Airbnb rentals

Homeowners across the city will soon be able to rent a room in their their homes through services like Airbnb and VRBO, following City Council’s approval at its Feb. 14 meeting.

The new regulations allow owners of single-family homes across the city to rent out one bedroom for a maximum of 30 days per renter and for a maximum of 104 nights per year, under the condition that the homeowner continues to occupy the home while the renter is there.

Whole-home rentals will remain illegal, and neighborhoods with Homeowners Associations still have the discretion to ban short-term rentals.

The board passed the measure in a 4-1 vote, with Council member Ted Maslin casting the lone dissenting vote. Instead, Maslin said he would’ve supported an alternate set of short-term rental regulations recommended to council by Planning Commission, which would’ve restricted short-term rentals to the city’s entrance corridors.

“I thought their rationale was solid; if we’re going to introduce short-term rentals in the community, let’s start at the entrance corridors, nobody living there will be surprised since those areas allow for bed and breakfasts,” Maslin said. “I felt that somebody on Council needs to be speaking for the neighborhoods.”

Carolyn Murphy, director of the city’s Planning Department, has said that just 58 homes along these entrance corridors would qualify under Planning Commission’s recommended policy.

Although short-term rentals are now legal in the city, that doesn’t mean homeowners can list their homes on Airbnb just yet.

Those looking to rent rooms in their homes as short-term rentals will first need to have a business license issued by the Williamsburg Commissioner of Revenue, along with approval from the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals, which carries a $300 application fee. They will also have to pay personal property taxes on every item in the room being rented.


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