County Planners Unveil Final Draft of Airbnb Guidelines

As featured in Bethesda Magazine

Planning Board scheduled to look at the proposal at May 4 meeting

The final draft of a proposal to regulate Airbnb-style rentals would let Montgomery County hosts accommodate guests for up to 30 days at a stretch, so long as they secure a special license.

County planners have been working for months to craft the guidelines, and their final draft will come before the Montgomery County Planning Board on May 4.

Short-term residential services like Airbnb, FlipKey and HomeAway have been surging in popularity across the country, and local jurisdictions have been scrambling to keep up. To this point, Montgomery County officials have been sending mixed messages; technically, the county doesn’t allow short-term rentals, but it also collects tax revenue from the activity.

County Council members initially discussed rules for short-term rentals early last year and asked the planning department to solicit public feedback on the topic. Planners held a series of public meetings and met with a range of county agencies before releasing their recommendations, according to a press release.

Under the final draft, hosts must be licensed through the county and apply for a renewal each year. The homeowners should demonstrate that they’ve notified their neighbors of the rental activity and maintain a log of all their guests. They can’t rent their homes for more than 90 days out of the year and must provide at least one off-street parking space for each rental contract. Each rental can accommodate up to six overnight guests who are 18 or older.

After the planning board reviews the proposed zoning text amendment on short-term rentals, the drafted guidelines will head to the County Council for a vote.

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