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County Moving Forward With Home-Sharing Regulations, Seeks Feedback

by Kalina Newman June 29, 2017 at 4:00 pm 31 Comments

It’s late at night and a resident pulls into their cul-de-sac after a long evening at work. Once they turn into their street, they find their block crowded for the umpteenth time with unfamiliar cars, followed by a new group of people temporarily staying in their neighbor’s home for a couple of days.

How would you react?

The scenario above describes the situation that has been increasingly reported throughout Reston, as more residents have begun to rent out their homes for profit over short periods of time through services such as Airbnb, Homeaway and Roomarama.

Fairfax County is currently in the process of developing stricter regulations for residents who wish to rent out their homes through such services. The County is looking for feedback on what residents think about the proposed regulations.

As of July 1, Virginia state law will give local governments the authority to require registration for these rentals.

According to the survey, the proposal would address:

  • Where these rentals would be allowed in the county
  • How often they could be rented out
  • What types of properties could be rented out
  • How many people would be allowed to stay in a property at any one time

If you’d be interested in participating in the survey, fill it out here.

Reston Association is making efforts to clamp down on those whose rental habits might be a disturbance to their neighbors. Currently, following County legislation, only those who own single-family homes are allowed to rent their space for less than 30 days.

At a community feedback meeting at Reston Association headquarters Wednesday evening, the home-sharing issue was named as a challenge RA will face going forward.

“I view this as one of the greatest threats to the way we live here in Reston,” said Rick Hamilton, of the Polo Fields cluster. “From the description of what goes on in the one [discussed at the May 26 RA meeting], that is frightening.”

  • John Farrell

    Nothing links to a survey.

  • Juli Vermillion

    I think the government needs to stay out of what people do in their private homes. It’s just another excuse to tax people…aren’t we paying enough?

    • John Farrell

      I think people who want to run hotels should sell their house and buy land in a commercial area. Right next to the flop houses and the fraternities.

    • Marcus

      Sure, you’re paying enough. Let those who are taking advantage of you by running hotels and paying standard taxes cover their fair share. Make them do it safely if it has to be done, and make them pay for that extra strain, not us. If what they do in their homes only affects their home, that would be one thing, but it has impact on the communities around them.

  • The Constitutionalist

    Great, just another case of where someone else dictates to you what you do on your own property that you ‘own’.

    “I view this as one of the greatest threats to the way we live here in Reston,” – really? Someone short term renting their own home is the greatest threat to the way we live here?

    • John Farrell

      You voluntarily bought property subject to covenants to that restrict it use.

      If AirBnB had its way, every house in Reston will be a flophouse. Pottersville is their object. They take the fees from their customers and do nothing when those people descrate our neighborhoods.

      • The Constitutionalist

        True. I am also not short term renting my house. It doesn’t change the fact that we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Also, let’s be serious, what we’re quoting here and trying to prevent is an extreme case only.

      • Jenny G.

        Untrue. I used airbnb to book a room at a mansion in CA, I used it to book a 300yr old renovated barn for my family during a trip to Vancouver area, I used it to …. and the list goes on and on.

        Issue here being, if the place is already murky and its rate is low you will get a similar clientele. In which case it may make the neighborhood look worse – but chances the owner already did enough damage by not taking care of the place. Any respectable airbnb operator would keep the place above par with hopes of a higher rate and better feedback!

        Can we discuss this without sinking to the lowest level of airbnb operations? Do you not understand the concept?

        I reckon that your family vacations are spent in hotels and resorts where you get nickel and dimed for everything: room service, laundry, water and all. Having done plenty of business trips that gets old very quick. Just my perspectives…

        • RestonAssurance

          I believe in the case of the slum airbnbs that the slum owners buy properties or condo units solely to hustle an easy dollar. They never intend to live in those properties.

          • Jenny G.

            Give me some airbnb examples and throw me some links! Dont just make stuff up…

          • taylor13

            I don’t think that would be the case in Reston. In DC? Probably. But Reston isn’t attractive enough to out-of-towners for someone to buy as an AirBnB investment property.

    • RestonAssurance

      I agree it’s not the greatest threat, but I wouldn’t want a revolving frat house on my street – come one, come all, harass the homeowners and their families at their expense.

      • The Constitutionalist

        And when that happens it should be addressed. However, remember that it shouldn’t also come at the cost of everyone else who is following the rules.

        • John Farrell

          The rules currently prohibit rentals of less than 30 days.

  • Tim

    As an owner living on the same street as a house that is being used for an Air BnB, I do hope RA moves forward with more stringent regulations. We have experienced multiple instances from visitors at the Air BnB ranging from excess noise, trash, and lack of parking spaces to more extreme cases where a neighborhood teenage girl was harassed repeatedly by a tenant and required involving the police. I agree that individuals have a right to do as they please in their homes. However, when that behavior significantly impacts fellow neighbors, then RA is within their right to develop regulations that speak to this

    • 40yearsinreston

      No they are not
      Its a county responsibility

      • Tim

        If your argument is that RA does not or should not have authority over regulations as opposed to FC; that in my opinion is a separate debate. I more concerned with the impact Air BnB is having on my neighborhood and street

  • 40yearsinreston

    RA overreaching again
    This is FCBOS and Hudgins responsibilty
    She should do her job instead of whining

    • John Farrell

      Our convenants prohibit commercial activities in residential neighborhoods. Flop houses (aka short-term rentals) are a commercial activity. RA is obliged to enforce the covenants that protect the residential character of our neighborhoods. It is RA’s essential function to do so.

      • Jenny G.

        What you are saying may be so but enforcement will be difficult. If RA intends to enforce the convenants they need a full timer to monitor and investigate the internet and a swat team of inspectors bringing these self styled entrepreneurs to justice.

        I challenge your position and instead sense an agenda especially since you are so outspoken on this topic. Is it possible you are eying an open inspector position or perhaps aspire to be one of the in house legal assistant on this and other matters? Based on earlier comments its clear you dont like Ray W. – Ray clearly stated he does not want this position filled since its not a prudent decision based in fiscal responsibility.

        Why not jist say so instead of beating around the bush?

        • John Farrell

          RA has a substantial covenant enforcement staff now and like every other enforcement regime, including your local police, it is complaint driven.

          • Box Car W.

            Thats the issue! So neighbors stink their petty beefs at the expense of the community!!!! Shameful.

          • John Farrell

            What’s shameful is that the short-term renters have so little respect for their neighbors and their community that they would compromise them for a few bucks. Pure greed.

  • 無為

    I see the problem much bigger than airbnb. With house prices being what they are and job security low many feel swueezed and explore 2nd incomes. Uber airbnb taskrabbit. No government will ever be fast enough to craft new rules and regulations perhaps to the dismay of those who are institutionalized by mindset and/or pay checks. The debate will go on for years and arguably the cost of this debate will outweigh actual tax revenues that otherwise could have been easily earned.

  • Is BP renting any houses? Do they have an ap?

    • RestonAssurance

      Good one!

  • Judy

    When I bought my house I considered the neighborhood which did not have a lot of traffic, noise or a lot of coming and going. It’s was a quiet neighborhood where I could live with my family. I checked the neighborhood out before I purchased. If it suddenly changed I would not want to live here. It is a subject that needs to be addressed. There is a neighbor currently renting out a room or basement and there are always strange people in my neighborhood now. It’s not as comfortable and it brings the value of the neighborhood down. I didn’t purchase my home in a commercial district. I purchased a home in a single family neighborhood where there was not a lot of coming and going. It isn’t a resort or hotel, it’s families living here. I don’t want that value to go away. If you want to rent out your house go to a neighborhood that does that.

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