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Council Votes Unanimously to Pass Legislation on Short-Term Rental Services

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Council Votes Unanimously to Pass Legislation on

Short-Term Rental Services

Legislative proposals from Council Vice President Riemer and Planning Board address short-term residential services like Airbnb and HomeAway

ROCKVILLE, Md., October 11, 2017—The Montgomery County Council voted unanimously on Tuesday, October 10 to enact two legislative proposals that address the legal and regulatory status of short-term rentals in the County. The two measures, ZTA 17-03 and Bill 2-16, represent Council Vice President Riemer’s and the Montgomery County Planning Board’s recommendations to balance the substantial economic potential for County residents of short-term residential services like Airbnb with concerns about regulating these services. The measure was initially introduced by Council Vice President Riemer more than a year ago, and was sent to the Planning Board to gather public input and refine the approach. After a September 12 public hearing and two Planning, Housing, and Economic Development (PHED) Committee meetings to review these measures, the Council voted unanimously (9-0) to adopt both measures.  

ZTA 17-03 makes bed and breakfasts limited uses in most residential and mixed-use zones. It limits the total number of adult overnight guests in a short-term rental to six, limits the total number of adult overnight guests per bedroom to two, and requires one off-street parking space for each rental contract. These measures put in place a regulatory framework that did not exist before, addressing concerns about the potential for residential housing to be used exclusively as a short-term rental service.  

ZTA 17-03 was approved with two revisions: (1) The dwelling unit used as a short-term rental must be the property owner’s or owner-authorized resident’s primary residence, which was an amendment recommended by the PHED Committee and (2) If the property owner or owner-authorized resident is not present in the residence, the property can be used as a short-term residential rental for a maximum of 120 days in a calendar year, which was an amendment recommended by Councilmember Katz. 

The Council also enacted Bill 2-16, which requires that several conditions be met to receive short-term residential licensing. Bill 2-16 was introduced by Council Vice President Riemer and cosponsored by Councilmember Rice.  

Council Vice President Riemer spoke about the importance of these measures which ensure that residents can benefit from short-term rental services while maintaining the security and character of neighborhoods.  

“By bringing all the stakeholders together, we were able to find a balance that works for us here in Montgomery County,” said Council Vice President Riemer. “This legislation will allow residents and visitors to get the value of home-sharing services, while preventing abuse and stopping investors from creating de facto hotels in residential neighborhoods and taking valuable housing stock off the market.”  

At the September 12 public hearing, the Council heard compelling testimony from County residents who use Airbnb and similar services to rent out rooms. Marcy Wolf-Hubbard described how, after her husband retired due to health issues, “the income we make from renting our room helps with the high cost of living here in Montgomery County.”  

Another resident, Elizabeth Wallace, described how short-term rentals help her age in place, which was a common theme among those testifying. “I’ll be 65 next month. I paid off my mortgage a decade ago; I’d like to stay in my home.” 

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Release ID: 17-313
Media Contact: Sonya Healy 2407777926, Delphine Harriston 2407777931