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Montgomery County Planning Board Recommends Short-Term Rental Regulations

by Nena Perry-Brown

Montgomery County Planning Board Recommends Short-Term Rental Regulations: Figure 1
An Airbnb rental in Bethesda.

The District is not the only local jurisdiction that is attempting to codify its residents’ use of short-term rental platforms. Yesterday, the Montgomery County Planning Board heard public testimony on a zoning text amendment that will establish standards for bed-and-breakfasts and accessory residential uses.

Last year, in response to the rise of short-term residential rentals in the county, the Planning Board began exploring how to address rentals of fewer than 30 consecutive days. Now, after a series of public commenting periods, that use will be termed “short-term residential rental” (STRR) and several restrictions have been recommended.

Hosts of STRRs would be required to obtain renewable annual licenses and could only rent to a maximum of six adults per night, two people per bedroom. A board staff report also recommended that STRRs be limited to hosting guests for no more than 90 days in a calendar year.

Commissioner Gerald Cichy proposed that the recommendation for annual limits be doubled to 180 days in order to give hosts more leeway to rent during the weekends; however, other boardmembers expressed that it would be easier to increase the limit later than to start with such a high number. There were also concerns about encouraging homeowners to create long-term housing units rather than pursue high-grossing short-term rentals.

Ultimately, the Planning Board voted to add the following comments to the staff report to be sent to the Council for consideration:

  • Remove the maximum number of days per year for short-term rental of owner-occupied units; the 90-day limit would still apply for listings where the owner does not reside.
  • The oversight agency can fine a host upon registry of a substantiated complaint on the listing.
  • Following three substantiated complaints, the oversight agency can suspend the host’s license for one year.

The staff report also proposes to treat STRRs and bed-and-breakfasts as separate issues.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/montgomery_county_planning_board_recommends_short_term_rentals/12566

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