Join Club

Peter’s Take: Is Airbnb Legal In Arlington?

peter_rousselot_2014-12-27_for_facebookPeter’s Take is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Is Airbnb legal in Arlington? It’s hard to tell, and that’s a problem.

Airbnb certainly is doing business in Arlington. Airbnb’s website currently boasts 300+ Arlington rentals, including:

  • a “cozy Ballston 1bd” @ $45 per night,
  • a $350 per night “huge 3bd” one block from Metro, and
  • hundreds more all over Arlington.

At the same time as it promotes these listings, Airbnb is passing the buck of regulatory and tax compliance to Arlington property owners via a “help center” on the Airbnb website:

When deciding whether to become an Airbnb host, it is important for you to understand the laws in your county. As a platform and marketplace we do not provide legal advice, but we want to give you some useful links that may help you better understand laws and regulations in Arlington County.

The website then lists some of the laws and regulations that might apply to Arlington property owners who use Airbnb’s services:

  • zoning ordinance
  • building code
  • short-term rental building registration and record-keeping
  • transient occupancy tax
  • other rules (like those set by condo boards, home owners associations, etc.)

Finally, this Airbnb website urges property owners to contact Arlington’s Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development (CPHD) or other county agencies or to “consult a local lawyer or tax professional.”

Airbnb nowhere mentions the laws or regulations that might apply to Airbnb itself.

Where have we seen this movie before? Although there are differences, the name Uber comes to mind. Last year, we began the Uber conversation when some argued that Uber was operating taxis illegally in Arlington. This year, some are arguing that Airbnb is operating hotels illegally in Arlington.

As was the case with Uber, in a Dillon Rule state like Virginia, the appropriate regulatory framework for a service like Airbnb must first be established at the state level not the local level. The need for the state to act now is underscored by the fact that the legality of Airbnb’s operations already has been questioned in:

Conclusion

Right now, Arlington County should NOT go down the path of cities like Richmond, Charlottesville and Roanoke by spending time and energy looking for strictly local ways to regulate and tax Airbnb or its participating property owners. Instead, Arlington first should focus on seeking a fair and uniform state-wide regulatory framework for Airbnb and entities like it.

A Virginia state-wide solution ultimately might lead to an agreement by Airbnb and similar entities to act as the tax collection agents for localities like Arlington. Airbnb already has worked out such deals in D.C., San Francisco and Portland, Oregon.

Recent Stories

In loving memory of James Stuart Edmonds, who passed away in 2023 at the age of 84.

A man was shot in front of a lounge on Columbia Pike early this morning, continuing a string of violent incidents. The shooting happened just before 1 a.m. in front…

Good Friday evening, Arlington. Today we published articles that were read a total of 17124 times… so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles for today —…

A march against drugs drew a large crowd of parents and community members to Wakefield High School, where a student died this week.

The Arlington-Aachen High School exchange is returning this summer and currently accepting applicants.

The sister-city partnership started in 1993 by the Arlington Sister Cities Association, which seeks to promote Arlington’s international profile through a variety of exchanges in education, commerce, culture and the arts. The exchange, scheduled June 17th to July 4th, includes a two-week homestay in Aachen plus three days in Berlin. Knowledge of the German language is not required for the trip.

Former participants have this to say:

_”The Aachen exchange was an eye-opening experience where I was fully immersed in the life of a German student. I loved biking through the countryside to Belgium, having gelato and picnics in the town square, and hanging out with my German host student’s friends. My first time out of the country, the Aachen exchange taught me to keep an open mind, because you never know what could be a life changing experience.” – Kelly M._

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

Learn about the new assessment of Arlington’s urban tree canopy and the many ecological and social benefits trees provide. Staff from the Green Infrastructure Center (GIC) will share study results and compare canopy cover for different areas of Arlington.The webinar will include assessments of ecosystem services such as stormwater mitigation, air quality, carbon uptake, and urban heat islands. For background on Arlington trees see the “Tree Benefits: Growing Arlington’s Urban Forest” presentation at http://www.gicinc.org/PDFs/Presentation_TreeBenefits_Arlington.pdf.

Please register in advance to assure your place at the webinar, https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/29543206508863839.

About the Arlington County Civic Federation: The Arlington County Civic Federation (“ACCF”) is a not-for-profit corporation which provides a forum for civic groups to discuss, debate, inform, advocate and provide oversight on important community issues, on a non-partisan basis. Its members include over ninety civic groups representing a broad cross-section of the community. Communications, resolutions and feedback are regularly provided to the Arlington County Government.

The next meeting is on Tuesday, February 21,2023 at 7 pm. This meeting is open to the public and will be hybrid, in-person and virtually through Zoom. Part of the agenda will be a discussion and vote on a resolution “To Restore Public Confidence in Arlington County’s Governance”. For more information on ACCF and this meeting, go to https://www.civfed.org/.

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

Valentine Pop-Up at George Mason University

Valentine gifts for someone special or for yourself are here at George Mason University from noon -4pm on February 14, 2023. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Kingsbury Chocolates, find a handmade bag from Karina Gaull, pick up treats from Village

Standup Comedy Showcase Starring Matt Ruby (Comedy Central)

Dead Horse Comedy Productions brings together top comedians from the DMV and beyond for a live standup comedy show!

Matt Ruby, Headliner

Matt Ruby is a comedian, writer, and filmmaker from New York City. His comedy has been filmed by

×

Subscribe to our mailing list