Over a year and a half ago, the Montgomery County Planning Board began working on how to respond to the proliferation of short-term rentals in the county, joining jurisdictions around the country (and the world) responding to the popularity of such online services as Airbnb.
Yesterday, that work began to conclude as the Montgomery County Council unanimously approved a zoning text amendment (ZTA) that establishes a regulatory framework for short-term rentals.
Short-term rentals are generally defined as rentals of 30 days or less. The ZTA codifies the following rules:
- All short-term rentals must be registered with the County annually.
- For reservations where the owner is on the premises, there is no maximum number of days per year that a short-term rental can operate.
- There is a maximum of six adult guests per overnight reservation, with a maximum of two guests per bedroom.
At-Large Councilmember Hans Riemer also proposed an amendment to the ZTA to increase the maximum days that a short-term rental can be rented annually from 90 to 120; the amendment passed 6-3.
The ZTA goes hand-in-hand with a bill on Transient Housing licensing and registration, which goes more in-depth to define the terms associated with the ZTA, establish how licenses and notices will be administered, and establish the processes for complaints and revocations. Unanimously passed, the bill does the following:
- Requires the applicant to certify their possession of the property in question and their legal right to operate such rentals.
- Allows municipalities and any governing boards of multi-family developments where short-term rentals operate to challenge licenses.
- Deems that three violations would result in suspension of the license.
The bill also updates hotel regulations; both hotels and short-term rentals are under the purview of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Both the bill and ZTA go into effect in July 2018 in order to give HHS time to work out the kinks of implementation.