Short-Term Residential Rentals Background

Board Adopts New Ordinance: Registration Required as of July 1, 2018 

The Board of Supervisors established a chapter in the codified ordinances of Loudoun County to require the annual, free registration of short-term residential rentals, effective July 1, 2018. Operators of short-term residential rentals in Loudoun are now able to register online. 


The ordinance is intended to help the county monitor and evaluate the growing industry of short-term residential rentals. The registry established by the ordinance creates a channel for the county to provide operators of short-term residential rentals with important business-related information and resources. This would include information about necessary permits, applicable fire regulations and the Transient Occupancy Tax, which generally applies to establishments that offer temporary lodging for four or more people at one time. Operators of short-term residential rentals who do not register with the county may face a fine of $500 per violation.

Adoption of the ordinance on May 1, 2018, was part of the Board’s initiative around short-term residential rentals and completes Phase 1 of the Short-Term Residential Rental Work Plan, which was approved by the Board in October 2017. Phase 2 of the work plan focuses on zoning, land use and public safety issues. It is scheduled to include an online survey to gauge the community’s opinions about land use issues to help inform the direction of a potential zoning ordinance amendment. 

The following staff reports, included in items prepared for Board of Supervisors meetings, detail the process of the initiative to date. 

Short-Term Residential Rentals Initiative Launched in 2017

With the growing popularity of online platforms and apps offering spaces for short-term rent in residential properties, such as Airbnb, Loudoun County launched an effort in October 2017 to gather information that would inform future ordinances and ordinance amendments within the purview of the Board of Supervisors. The main research topic areas are registration, taxation, zoning, and public safety.

In 2017, the General Assembly passed SB 1578 and added a new section, 15.2-983, to the Code of Virginia, which authorizes localities to adopt an ordinance to establish a short-term residential rental registry requiring the registration of operators offering short-term rentals of spaces in residential properties within the locality. 

After the General Assembly action, Loudoun County established a Short-Term Residential Rental workgroup, which included Visit Loudoun, to evaluate what is best for the community regarding short-term residential rentals. The STRR workgroup drafted the Short-Term Residential Rental Work Plan that was adopted by the Board in October 2017. Loudoun County is also participating in a regional workgroup that includes many northern Virginia localities.

A key component of the initiative is community outreach. During Phase 1, the county conducted a survey to gather opinions and comments from the public about short-term residential rentals. Due to the amount of interest garnered by the first survey, the county staff plans to open a second survey to focus specifically on zoning and land-use issues during Phase 2 of the process. 

For more information about the short-term residential rentals initiative, email David L. Street in the Office of the County Administrator or call 703-777-0200.