Last Updated: 2018-07-31

Richmond VA > Planning and Development Review > Short-Term Rentals

Last Updated: 2020-05-12

The ordinance to permit short-term rentals (Ordinance No. 2019-343) is currently under review by City Council. The proposed ordinance permits short-term rentals as an accessory use to a dwelling unit or permitted accessory dwelling unit in all zoning districts which permit residential uses under the following conditions:

  • Who can operate a short-term rental:   The short-term rental operator shall be the property owner. The short-term rental shall be on the lot of the operator’s primary residence with the operator occupying the lot at least 185 days each year.
  • Approval Process:   Certificate of Zoning Compliance (CZC) for Short-term Rental is to be obtained on a biennial basis. The Biennial Fee for CZC is to be $300 which is intended to cover administration and monitoring costs.
  • Advertising:   The Certificate of Zoning Compliance approval number shall be posted on all advertisements for the property.
  • Number of nights a short-term rental can operate:   The number of nights a short-term rental can operate is not limited.
  • Number of persons who can rent per night:   The total number of adult renters allowed in a short-term rental shall be limited to two adults per available sleeping room. Double booking which consists of more than one booking transaction occurring at the same time is not allowed. The number of children per rental is not limited.
  • Number of sleeping rooms available for rental:   The total number of sleeping rooms available for rental is limited to a maximum of 5 sleeping rooms.
  • Unhosted vs. Hosted Stays:   This legislation proposes no distinction between hosted and unhosted stays; whole house rentals (unhosted stays) are permitted in all zones as the operator is not required to be on site during the stay.
  • Signage:   The short-term rental is permitted to have signage consistent with the signage allowed for home occupations which consists of one non-illuminated wall sign not to exceed two square feet.
  • Safety Requirements:   Smoke detectors shall be present in compliance with the current edition of the Virginia Residential Construction Code. A fire extinguisher shall be present and be accessible at all times. Carbon monoxide detectors shall be present in any room used for sleeping or cooking.
  • Parking:   No additional parking is required for the short-term rental use.
  • Events:   Events and gatherings of persons other than the authorized lodgers are prohibited from occurring at the short-term rental.
  • Review of Implementation:   City Planning Commission will review the implementation of the ordinance after one year to determine if amendments to the ordinance are needed.

The ordinance is currently scheduled to be reviewed by City Council on May 26, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. Please refer to the City's Legislative Portal to stay up-to-date on the Council review process. For more information, please contact Marianne Pitts at

Short-term rental (STR) is the transient occupancy of a dwelling unit for a period of less than 30 consecutive days. These rentals are often advertised and processed through online platforms and include both the rental of a whole house or only a room or rooms within a house. Short-term rentals are currently not identified as a permitted use in the City’s Zoning Ordinance and have been authorized through the approval of Special Use Permits.

Short-Term Rentals Regulation Proposal

In 2017, the General Assembly passed SB 1578 which preserves the ability for localities to establish local regulations and allows for the creation of a registry for short term rentals. In response to this enabling legislation, Planning and Development Review (PDR) convened an internal working group of directors and staff from PDR, Finance, and the City Attorney’s Office to establish regulations to permit short term rentals under certain terms and conditions. PDR is looking to have extensive community input on the proposed regulations, which were drafted after a review of legislation in other localities and of the current operations of short term rentals in the City of Richmond. A survey was conducted from 3/26/2019 to 5/31/2019 which asked participants’ opinions on the conditions included in the draft zoning regulations. The internal working group amended the draft legislation based on the survey results and public input received.

Meetings on Short Term Rentals

PDR staff hosted two public meetings on the draft STR regulations:

  • Public Meeting #1: Saturday, May 4, 2019, from 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. in the basement auditorium of the Main Library, 101 East Franklin Street
  • Public Meeting #2: Tuesday, May 14, 2019 from 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at the Richmond Central DMV, 2300 West Broad Street

Additionally, PDR staff attended the following meetings to present on STRs:

  • Councilwoman Newbille’s 7th District Meeting: Tuesday, March 26, 2019, from 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at the Richmond East District Initiative Government Services Building, 701 North 25th Street
  • Councilwoman Larson’s 4th District Meeting: Thursday, March 28, 2019, from 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at the Huguenot Community Center, 7945 Forest Hill Avenue
  • Councilwoman Gray’s 2nd District Meeting: Tuesday, April 9, 2019, from 5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center, 2401 West Leigh Street
  • Councilman Jones 9th District Meeting: Thursday, April 18, 2019, from 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at the South Side Community Center, 6255 Old Warwick Road
  • Councilwoman Robertson’s 6th District Meeting: Tuesday, April 23, 2019, from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. at the Main Library, 101 East Franklin Street
  • Councilman Addison’s 1st District Meeting: Wednesday, April 24, 2019, from 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at Mary Munford Elementary School, 211 Westmoreland Avenue
  • Councilman Hilbert’s 3rd District Meeting: Thursday, April 25th, 2019, from 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at Fire Station 14, 2934 Hawthorne Avenue
  • Councilman Agelasto’s 5th District Meeting: Thursday, April 25th, 2019, from 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. at Swansboro Elementary School, 3160 Midlothian Turnpike
  • Councilwoman Trammell’s 8th District Meeting: Thursday, May 16, 2019, from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. at the Satellite Restaurant & Lounge, 4000 Jefferson Davis Highway


For additional Information, please contact Marianne Pitts at or by phone at (804)646-5207.

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