It’s vacation time and you’re looking for a place to stay far from the congested city. Maybe a cozy little cabin near a winery. Hello, smartphone. With a click of an app, you could rent an entire private home for less than most hotel rooms. It’s quick and easy.
Although, if you’re the one renting out your home or room to tourists looking to take in our nation’s capital, there are some complex rules and regulations to follow. The rules that apply to another county might be entirely different from the rules in Montgomery County.
There’s a maximum amount of people you can rent to at one time, a maximum number of adults per bedroom, zoning & parking restrictions, and licensing fees. Read on for the nitty-gritty.
Knowing the rules in Montgomery County for Airbnb, Flipkey, Home Away and VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner) is a must before you place that first ad.
Check this site first to see if your town or city is eligible for a short term residential rental license: https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/HHS-Special/LandRShortTermRental.html
Short term rentals were technically illegal in Montgomery county when Airbnb arrived on the scene. But before regulations went into effect, the county taxed them and looked the other way.
The county could see that times were changing and it was evident that the short-term rental industry was growing. Regulations needed to put in place.
Though some homeowners who already rented their homes to make a little extra income welcomed short-term renters and regulations, many other homeowners were concerned. Some were afraid their neighborhoods would become overrun, polluted and full of traffic.
So, regulations that went into effect for short-term rentals in Montgomery County on July 1, 2018, represented a compromise between residents.
Councilmember Hans Riemer, who sponsored the regulatory legislation, said, “We don’t want to open our residential housing to investors to come in and buy properties and turn them into hotels where they own five or six hotels in the county that are essentially houses.”
Only Montgomery County’s primary property owners can rent out their house or room in their house. You may not purchase homes with the sole intent of renting it short-term.
What is a Short-Term Residential Rental?
A short-term residential rental is a room, single-family home, apartment or condominium that is for rent for less than 30 consecutive days. They are found online on sites like Airbnb, Flipkey, Home Away and VRBO and must be the property owner’s primary residence in Montgomery County.
Airbnb and Other Short-Term Rental Policies for Montgomery County
Homeowners need to apply for a short-term residential rental license through the Department of Health and Human Services. The cost is $150 plus applicable processing fees and must be renewed annually.
You must let immediate neighbors, homeowner’s/condo association, if applicable, know you are planning to rent. You have to be paid up on all taxes and follow zoning restrictions. Accessory apartments and farm tenant dwellings are prohibited as short-term rentals.
Property owners need to keep a record of guests who rent with them. The maximum number of adults 18 years and older is six with two adults allowed per bedroom. This keeps people from having big parties and the hassles that come with it.
The maximum rental days per calendar year is 120 days if the owner is absent. If the owner or authorized resident is present there is no limit.
Every rental requires one off-street parking space unless vehicle parking is prohibited.
Code violations are taken seriously:
“[Any person who violates] A violation of any provision of Article II or Article
III of this [[article]] [shall be] Chapter is [subject to punishment for] a class A
violation [as set forth in section 1-19 of chapter 1 of the County Code]. [Each
day such violation shall continue shall be deemed a separate offense.]” – Montgomery County Rules
So, whether you are looking for someone to rent your home while you’re backpacking across Europe next summer or have a spare room to rent, before listing on Airbnb check your municipality for zoning restrictions here: https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/DPS/Process/zspe/Short-Term-Rentals.html
If you’re interested in the Rules for Airbnb in Washington, DC, see our blog here: https://www.enggarciagrant.com/know-the-airbnb-rules-in-washington-dc/