Virginia Beach tightens safety rules for short-term rentals, lifts ban on new operators in resort area


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Those who rent out their homes using platforms such as Airbnb and Vrbo across Virginia Beach will now have new safety rules to follow, and those who want to start operating a rental property at short term in the Oceanfront region now might have the chance.

On Tuesday night, the Virginia Beach City Council voted 8-2 to allow homeowners in what’s known as the “Beachfront Resort District” to apply for a conditional use permit if they wish to begin operating. rent to people for less than 30 days.

Councilors Barbara Henley and Sabrina Wooten were the dissenting voices.

In a more divided 6-4 vote, they approved a series of new requirements for all current and future short-term rental operators, which include bridge inspections in an attempt to avoid collapses. Two of these collapses occurred in Sandbridge last year.

These are just the latest actions in what has become a perennial and frustrating problem in the coastal community.

Many Virginia Beach owners rent their properties to vacationers – and have done so for years – but some neighbors have complained that the rise of digital platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo has led to parking nightmares, out-of-control parties that sometimes resulted in violence and a global disruption of traditional neighborhoods occupied by their owners.

In July, City Council banned all new short-term rentals outside Sandbridge, unless a majority of people in a specific neighborhood request short-term rentals in their community.

On Tuesday evening, City Councilor Guy Tower led the charge to change course at least in the resort area as he said people already knew they were buying in an area with hotels.

However, each new individual tenancy should receive the approval of a majority of city council.

The Oceanfront Resort Short-Term Rental Overlay area in Virginia Beach (Courtesy: City of Virginia Beach)

More controversial with those who currently operate short-term rentals: the additional security requirements.

Going forward, all short-term rentals will also need to have a structural safety inspection report every three years, with the maximum patio occupancy displayed in the rental.

Anyone operating a vacation rental without a professional management company will need to go through an annual city zoning inspection to look for at least one fire extinguisher, working smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors. Rentals professionally managed by a certified company would be inspected every three years.

However, what really annoyed some is that apart from renting the landlord must now display a four square foot sign stating that the property is short term rental and have the hotline contact number. short term rental in town.

“Why oh why are you even considering this?” Kendall Maynard, of the Virginia Beach Short-Term Rental Alliance, told the council. “Maybe I should just put up a flashing ‘Come and steal me’ neon sign.”

Others have called it all “another government excess”.

“This is my home and with my home comes certain constitutional rights,” said Brandon Beavers, who also owns Oceanfront Rentals. “So if the city wants to encroach on those with the zoning, I think a judge will decide somehow good bad and different.”

Those who violate city regulations could have their CUP “grandfather” status revoked. Those who do not operate “legally” face a fine of up to $ 200 for the first offense and $ 500 for any additional offense.

Mayor Bobby Dyer, council members John Moss, Aaron Rouse and Sabrina Wooten voted against the new requirements for all current and future short-term rental operators.

Dyer commented that the problem was giving him “heartburn”.

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