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Community Real Estate

Submit your opinion on short-term rentals by 5/31

Richmond BizSense writes:

Four years after the “big bike race” made the topic a point of debate in Richmond, the city is on the verge of adopting new rules that would make short-term residential rentals permissible. The city planning department is soliciting feedback on a draft policy to regulate nightly rentals of rooms and homes such as those marketed through websites like Airbnb, FlipKey, HomeAway and VRBO. The proposed rules were presented to the planning commission this month and are being circulated for review before going to the commission and City Council for potential adoption.

The new rules would require anyone looking to rent out a property for less than 30 days at a time to obtain a permit, called a Certificate of Zoning Compliance for Short-Term Rental, at a cost of $300 to cover administration and monitoring costs to the city


We’ve discussed short term rentals on the site before, but what do you think? Do you see yourself being ok with short term neighbors? Technically, short term rentals are not allowed at all right now and these permits would potentially set a general framework on how to regulate non-compliant operators. If you’re interested in getting your opinion out there, you can complete this survey.

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35 comments

Patrick Garrett 04/11/2019 at 6:24 AM

Just what we need, more government regulations. It’ll end up being another tax revenue the city will squander.

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Telly Keys 04/11/2019 at 6:57 AM

Why? And how much will this cost? Unnecessary government oversight.

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Zach Morrison 04/11/2019 at 9:09 AM

$300?!?!

That’s absurd.

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David Willis 04/11/2019 at 9:26 AM

I support legalizing AirBnB and ahort term rentals in the Richmond Va region. These rentals offer a great alternative for family groups that want to travel in a region together.

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Benjamin Butterworth 04/11/2019 at 10:01 AM

“$300 to cover administration and monitoring costs to the city”

These rentals are already outright banned in the city and I don’t see a whole lot administration and monitoring happening if they became legal. Especially not 300$ worth per rental.

I think they should be permitted and regulated but I don’t think it should cost 300$

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G 04/11/2019 at 11:13 AM

I do NOT want to live next to a short-term rental. If a “neighbor” ended up doing that permanently, I would move. I really like getting to know my neighbors and have that safety/community around me. To have constant total strangers is just too much of an unknown. AirBNB is awful for rent values too – will make the city more unaffordable. This is a TERRIBLE idea.

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Daniil Kleyman 04/11/2019 at 11:36 AM

Properly monitoring, inspecting and regulating this will cost way more than $300 per unit. Which means either the City will once again go over budget or they will just jack up the fees down the road and pass the costs onto the regular folks trying to make ends meet by renting out spare rooms in their houses. Either way, it’s a losing proposition for taxpayers and residents. No offense to anyone at Richmond City, but how about getting the tasks already on your plate streamlined to some basic level of competency (like issuing permits on a timely basis) before creating more bureaucracy? This is an all-around terrible idea.

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Thomas J. Alleman 04/11/2019 at 5:58 PM

Daniil Kleyman yeah another mess of messes to deal with.

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SA Chaplin 04/11/2019 at 11:39 AM

@Partick Garrett: You are 100% spot on. This is nothing more than meddling with people’s property rights so as to raise revenue for a government that cannot control spending (—like giving cheeseburgers to a kid who has a weight problem). Initially concocted in connection with the big bicycle race in 2015, but shot down by the Planning Commission on the grounds it would be too hard to enforce. Now, our Planning Commission has figured out it can hire an outside contractor to do the enforcement and pay it with the egregious $300 bi-annual fee.

Unforeseen consequences: tourism is harmed, property owners who need the extra cash are penalized, and overall bad taste in citizen’s mouths in regard to their city government.

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jean mcdaniel 04/11/2019 at 12:44 PM

I agree with the sentiments ecpressed so far on this post. This would not be enforceable and $ 300.00 is absurd. This semells like the stop bus sign scam the City thought was going to make money.

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SA Chaplin 04/11/2019 at 2:33 PM

@G – Nothing in the proposed ordinance would address your concern. Nothing. Whether the City passes this or not, your next door neighbor can still turn their house into an AirBnB rental. This ordnance is simply a way to raise revenue. And if anyone thinks that charging folks $300 for the AirBnB “privilege” would stop a renter from having a big “crashing through the floor” party . . . well, I have a bridge up in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.

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Queen of Church Hill 04/11/2019 at 2:51 PM

I have a short term rental across the street and one two doors down. These houses are used exclusively for short term rentals. There are at least three different sets of people in each per week. Most of the renters are respectful of the neighbors, but occasionally, they are not. Also, I like knowing my neighbors and being friendly with them. If people want to rent their homes on occasion, like when they’re out of town, I’m fine with that, but I’m not a fan of using their homes exclusively for short term rentals.

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Ella 04/11/2019 at 7:02 PM

One consequence of short-term rentals: investors buying properties and then residents can’t afford to buy or rent. It’s happened in places like Dublin, Ireland.

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Kay 04/11/2019 at 8:31 PM

Why is this needed? There are plenty of hotels and motels to accommodate travellers to the city.

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Eric Huffstutler 04/11/2019 at 9:08 PM

I am for AirBnB’s if…

1) They are regulated under similar laws that govern hotels/motels which include…

2) Health laws and inspections and the property is…

3) Inspected by the city for such occupancy safety on a regular basis.

Also, the “owner” needs to be on the premises and not rent out an entire unsupervised house but only rooms or a floor. We saw recently what happened with a house rented out unsupervised when the floor caved in during a rowdy party.

To me, a BnB is a Bed and Breakfast. Not, Bed and Get Your Own Damn Breakfast. It is supposed to be only a “bed” and “breakfast” cooked by the proprietor for their guests in a boarding house like atmosphere… meaning they are on the premises. At least that is how traditional BnB’s have been for 150 years or more.

People will also need to check with their homeowner’s insurance for such allowances.

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Sarah 04/12/2019 at 3:10 PM

I think I’d be in favor of a sliding scale fee based on the number of rooms available to travellers or number of travellers an Airbnb host says their place can accommodate. To me, that would mitigate the pain for someone who is offering a private room in a shared house at $40-50/night vs. someone who is offsite and offering the whole place for $100-110/night. If the per day cost of a whole-house Airbnb differs significantly from the prevailing “per day” rental rate, then there’s a strong incentive for investors to offer properties on Airbnb, rather than to residents, leading to the issue that @13 raised.

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Dontmincewords 04/13/2019 at 8:50 AM

My property taxes have doubled in the five years ive owned my home. I rent rooms in my home and have cornered the market on mother-daughter weekends, races, graduation, and traveling nurses. As i get older, this will probably be the only way ill be able to cover my nut and age in place. Tax the assholes who get $3-4k/mo. not me. I act as and adjunct conceirge for the city and guide my guests on where to go and what to eat. You’re welcome, Richmond.

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Byron Foltz 04/13/2019 at 2:00 PM

The beauty of AirBnB-like companies is that people can vote with their dollar. Bad rental? Leave a bad review. There is no need to create more taxes in Richmond, especially for something like this. If you are a homeowner, you should be able to rent your house how you wish with existing laws applying. If you wish to rent your apartment, that’s between you and your landlord. Allow AirBnB-like rentals. Don’t charge a fee.

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L 04/13/2019 at 3:31 PM

There’s a pretty obvious problem that I think Eric H (#15) has already somewhat pointed out: the legislation makes no distinction between folks who remain on site and rent out rooms, folks who occasionally rent out their entire home and vacate, folks who occasionally use a second/vacation home that they rent out when they aren’t using it themselves, and investors who exclusively rent and never live in the home themselves. Obvoously that last one is a problem. There’s nothing about that that resembles a Bed and Breakfast. The degree to which this is permitted (allowed at all, number of nights annually, permit costs and inspections, etc.) should obviously favor operators in residence and folks who actually use the homes themselves

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jonappleseed 04/14/2019 at 10:15 AM

Yeah cause thats what we need… government telling us more and more what we can do with our own property. So many statist in this thread.

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crd 04/15/2019 at 6:25 PM

NBC12 has a story about public meetings on this -http://www.nbc12.com/2019/04/15/richmond-hold-public-meetings-proposed-airbnb-vrbo-regulations/

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G 04/15/2019 at 9:53 PM

@20 and all you other libertarian types – i would much rather have an elected body of our representatives making decisions that affect the quality of life in our neighborhoods than a total free for all. It’s good to have general guidelines in place so random yahoos next door don’t turn my home into a nightmare. I’ve never understood why you don’t understand that “the government” is just a collection of ourselves. Not something apart and different. Just us, ruling ourselves. They/we are taking the decision slowly, encouraging feedback.

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Eric Huffstutler 04/16/2019 at 8:21 PM

For some reason, at times, I feel like we have a bunch of anarchists amongst us. They don’t believe in rules and government, even when they are for the good of a community and its citizens.

Again, a B&B is “Bed and Breakfast’. How do you provide a homecooked breakfast to guests to fulfill the second ‘B’ if you are not on the premises?

To simply rent for profit and take no other responsibility, is irresponsible. You will be renting to all sort of people, all ages, and have all sorts of needs and restrictions… including allergies. You would need to make sure your home would pass health laws which include bathroom, bedroom, bedding, towels, all things in the kitchen including a clean refrigerator, microwave, etc… That you are licensed to cook food for public consumption. That the house or building is up to city occupancy codes for safety not only by way of structure but free of insects, rodents, dust, black mold, lead paint, asbestos, animal dander, cigarette smoke, etc…

And once again, that your homeowner’s insurance covers this in case a guest gets hurt on your property or becomes sick, or worse, dies.

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BAF 04/19/2019 at 6:58 PM

Eric:

You recognize that AirBnB is a brand, not a service promise, right?

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Bill 04/21/2019 at 2:28 AM

So Eric, tell us again how the government is working so well in protecting the community At 27th and Marshall

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Veronicanne 04/28/2019 at 1:16 PM

Yes. Enough government regulations.

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Daniil Kleyman 04/29/2019 at 7:38 AM

If you feel strongly about this, whichever direction you’re leaning, make sure that you send a letter/email to Newbille and attend the 2 public meetings that will be held and make your voices heard. Nothing is set in stone yet so you have ability to influence policy.

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Agent in CH 04/30/2019 at 7:49 AM

As a licensed property and casualty agent in Virginia and a long term Church Hill resident I would like to put forward that homeowners insurance absolutely do not cover short term rentals. Neither do tenant policies. So all of those neighbors of yours who rent out their homes on Air B and B do not carry insurance to protect their home or their liability unless they are fronting over $3k (least I have seen) in a specialty policy. If it passes the homeowner should at least have to prove adequate insurance. Also yes I realize AirB&B has their $1 million dollar insurance built in but I have looked through the documents and there are so many loop holes in it they would easily get out of paying the homeowner anything were there to be a claim. Also not informing your property insurance that your home is on Air B and B is a violation of your own insurance and were you to have a claim even for non air b and b related claims the insurance can technically hold you in violation of terms for the contract and not pay your claims simply because your home is “listed” on the website. Something to think about…

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Pattonrva 05/06/2019 at 9:44 AM

Short term rentals are the way of the future. A new generation of travelers no longer uses hotels like their parents did and prefer authentic experiences instead. If this city wants to take part in the economic growth brought by short term rentals, we need to relax the regulation on these micro business.

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Bill 05/06/2019 at 2:08 PM

No 28 Yes as soon as the govt mentions the reg, the
Insurance leeches move in and demand a piece of the action

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Mark H 05/06/2019 at 3:59 PM

Yes # 26, Yes #29. We have stayed in many and for 95% they self regulate themselves. Dumbasses allowed 1 incident and all heck broke loose, shall I say floor. Now everyone is against them. Wish to kill a milking cow, do it Richmond, what you do best. Not our experience. Always very vetted by the owner based on past stays and responsible ones dwell into your previous history of stays. And Bill, if they can’t get a piece of the action$$$$ it’s a bad thing. Ever thought about changing your business model agent?

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Agent in CH 05/07/2019 at 2:31 PM

@31 I am not against Air B and B at all, just advising what the legal insurance laws state for major companies. Also I don’t as an agent influence the policies or “business model” as you put it, I write policies according to the companies adopted guidelines. I am talking about major companies like Travelers, Allstate, USAA etc. These are their specifications and written into a contract that the homeowner signs and purchases from them. You may think it is stupid, etc. but the insurance companies are about reducing possibilities of risk and having people in your home you do not know without you there is a huge risk. I actually think Air B and B is a great concept, however, most people assume their homeowners insurance would cover it if something happens and just wanted to advise that unless you purchased specialty insurance which is around $3k a year, then no, a standard homeowners insurance will not pay out and can be voided for participating in Air B and B. I believe in people knowing all the information rather than just going off of assumptions. As far as standard insurance companies adopting the Air B and B concept and adapting their model. I can see it happening, but only with a very large premium. As an example most companies also don’t allow you to drive for Lyft/Uber but some have adapted and said it is ok but they do charge you a premium to be covered as a driver because you are driving more often which increases your risk for an accident as well as having people you do not know in the vehicle which can result in larger/potential liability claims. Again, not bucking the concept, think it is great….more trying to make people aware that you should talk to your insurance agent about it because most companies don’t cover short term rentals so you may be at a risk.

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Mark H 05/08/2019 at 4:05 PM

#32 I certainly do my home work. $$$$$$

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Sean Stilwell 05/10/2019 at 1:53 PM

Proper Insurance from Frederick MD (Underwritten by Lloyd’s of London) offers a stand-alone AirBnB policy with the fullest coverage for about $1,350/yr. I use them after since one else would touch it.

The company Slice has a rider if you live in your airbnb.

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Diana Jackson 05/28/2019 at 6:32 PM

Some folks need to supplement their income by renting a Room in their own house. I don’t see a problem with that as opposed to people who purchase property for the sole purpose of short term rental

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