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County Council legalizes, regulates Airbnb, other short-term rentals

Widespread practice currently banned by Montgomery County zoning

Though they are currently banned under Montgomery County zoning ordinances, short-term rentals on Airbnb can be found in the Kentlands.

The Montgomery County Council unanimously approved a bill and a zoning text amendment last month legalizing and regulating short-term rentals done through websites such as Airbnb and HomeAway market, including such arrangements here in the Kentlands.

The zoning amendment, ZTA 17-03, limits the total number of adult overnight guests to six, restricts the total number of adult guests per bedroom to two, and requires one off-street parking space per rental contract.  For instance, if you rent out three bedrooms in your house through Airbnb, you could rent to six guests, however, if you only have two parking spaces in your driveway, you could only agree to two rental contracts for that evening with a total of six guests between the two contracts.   This would not include parking on the street in front of your home, as you cannot guarantee that availability.  Finally, the owner of the property being used for short-term rentals (or an owner-authorized resident) must use the home as their primary residence, or the home can only be rented for a total of 90 days in the calendar year.

Bill 2-16 requires residents who want to rent out their homes or condos through hospitality services such as Airbnb to register with the County Department of Health and Human Services and set out conditions that must be met to receive a short-term residential rental license. To obtain a license, a Kentlands homeowner must notify immediate neighbors and the KCA (and any applicable condominium association) that they plan to rent out their home or unit. The property owner must also have paid all relevant taxes and comply with zoning restrictions and must keep a record of the guests who stay there. The licenses will be issued for one year and require an application to be renewed annually. Three verified complaints will result in revocation of the short-term rental

There are plenty of short-term rentals in and around Kentlands listed at any given time on Airbnb.

Until these changes become effective in July 2018, short-term rentals are technically prohibited by County zoning ordinances, yet that has not stopped residents from using Airbnb to rent out their homes. According to County statistics, there are roughly 1,400 units located in Montgomery County listed on Airbnb.

Please note that if you rent your unit in the Kentlands “long-term,” the KCA requires that your lease be a minimum of six months. Otherwise, the Kentlands Charter does allow Titleholders to offer “temporary lodging” on an overnight basis, for a fee.

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