Richmond City Proposes Rules and Regulations for AirBnB Hosts

in
Richmond, VA
Level 2
2,238 Views

Please take this survey to let the city know what you think of the rules they are wanting to impose on AirBnB hosts in Richmond, VA. They are considering a $300 permit, only allowing to book 180 nights per year, rules on wether or not you reside in the rental, rules on the number of occupants per room, rules on tenants having to ask the owner/operator for permission, parking requirements, ect. Please have your voices heard!

 

Article here with a link for the survey in the 4th-to-last paragraph:

https://richmondbizsense.com/2019/04/08/short-term-home-rental-permits-cost-300-proposed-city-rules/

 

Here is another link to survey but I'm not sure if this will work:

The survey, available here, can be taken through May 31.

16 Replies

Re: Richmond City Proposes Rules and Regulations for AirBnB Hosts

in
Richmond, VA
Level 2

How many people are already paying the city transient lodiging tax?  You may want to consier paying it before worrying about the suggested $300 fee.

Re: Richmond City Proposes Rules and Regulations for AirBnB Hosts

in
Henrico, VA
Level 1

Tom 

Thank for your work on behalf of your interests and all of the other hosts in RVA. I think it will be hard to mobilize our group because of the veiled threats from Mr Olinger to penalize those of us already operating in the city. I find this Airbnb Community page pretty clumsy and hard to navigate especially using my phone. 

However I contacted Mr Addison and offered to expain our situation and provide a tour of my property. I doubt many of the voting councel people have ever tried STR as an option while traveling. 

The two items I could not accept are the 180 day limit and owner occupation rules being considered. If either goes into effect, I will switch to a 12 month rental situation, as either will make our duplex not affordable.

thanks again

Matthew  

Re: Richmond City Proposes Rules and Regulations for AirBnB Hosts

in
Richmond, VA
Level 1
Here is a list of public hearings w the two most significant listed first. I'd recommend making it several of these and making your piece known.
 
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
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
Here’s the website with all the pertinent info. It contains a survey that would be helpful for other Airbnb hosts to fill out.

Re: Richmond City Proposes Rules and Regulations for AirBnB Hosts

in
Richmond, VA
Level 2
Hello Councilman Addison and Robertson,
CC: Marianne Pitts.
       Mark Olinger
 
I find it odd that there is a government interest in regulating something with less than a 0.5% complaint rate... something that most industrial manufacturing processes (businesses) do not achieve.  Similarly, I am discouraged that the city was unaware of any non-hotel short term rental operators; however, I am encouraged that you are meeting internally with a team to discuss some of the proposed changes and review how the finances will work.
 
In regard to the proposed legislation, I have captured the suggested changes in the attached PDF Document.  Currently, I am not aware of any legislation making STRs illegal ( http://www.richmondgov.com/Finance/documents/faqLodgingTax.pdf ).  I am only aware of legislation citing the need to collect transient occupancy tax for those who participate in such business.  It was a long, difficult, and frustrating process getting setup to do this in 2016.  Similarly, I attempt to do all current transactions online - without visiting city hall because the process is so unpleasant, I get parking tickets because it takes too long, and more errors are made while interacting with the staff there.
 
I report and pay lodging tax as an STR operator, but I do not sell food or beverage / admission.  I use this form - http://www.richmondgov.com/Finance/forms/ALM_coupon.pdf .  Note the reference..."Any person receiving taxable transient lodging charges for any hotel, motel, or other lodging place containing ten (10) or more bedrooms within the city" - I interpret this as HOTELS as most STRs are less than 10 bedrooms.  I pay the tax anyway.  None of my rentals have more than 2 bedrooms.
 
In general, it needs to be clear what the goals of this legislation are...
 
 - If regulatory / compliance / safety... then make it easy to register without fees - making the 3rd party auditing (cost) unnecessary.  No excuse for not registering.  Special zoning should only need to be pursued for single family residences - residences intended to be owner occupied or long term rentals.  Don't forget that standard Home Owners Insurance rarely covers STR operation.
 
 - If revenue based, you have to focus on capturing the revenue - individuals self reporting income and occupancy is unlikely to be successful or profitable for the city.  The 3rd party admin cost will be under funded unless regulated and enforced strategically with appropriate branches of the law.  Instead add to the finance department via business license process - also not easy.
 
Mark, In regard to the 2015 report... please do not cite the data you find favorable and disregard or discredit "the intern" who prepared it.  I thought it was well written.  Similarly, do not advertise that you need another intern to do additional research if you plan to discredit it for the same reason.  Another wasted cost if their time is not valued.  Be a better mentor.
 
I genuinely think you need to consider how self-reporting will cover the cost of the 3rd party regulatory activity... if business licenses are not required (for some)... how would anyone even track occupancy rate, revenue, or delinquent tax?  Similarly, are hotels also self reporting?  Are these ever audited for actual occupancy rate and proper tax collection?  Which department or process currently regulates big-business hotel compliance?  What is their revenue stream as compared to STR operators?
 
If someone were an operator of a STR that did not already comply with current laws... I would highly doubt they would pursue the compliance aspect that you are suggesting is going to be required.  It was not an easy process... requiring multiple visits to the city offices and a level of follow-up, tracking, and patience that I do not think most people have.
 
I plant to speak at...
  • 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
 
Thanks for your time,
 
Thomas Courtney

Re: Richmond City Proposes Rules and Regulations for AirBnB Hosts

in
Wellington, New Zealand
Level 10

I must say, I'm slightly jealous.  last year the Council in Auckland, New Zealand, introduced additional rates that, for some hosts, added a bill of an extra $4,000 per year on hosts operating an Airbnb... now other councils are looking to follow suit.  Personally, I'd take the extra $300 any day.

Re: Richmond City Proposes Rules and Regulations for AirBnB Hosts

in
Richmond, VA
Level 2

Agree... The concept of regulating (taxing) private citizens doing business on their own property... Or creating obstacles to doing so... Is a restriction on freedoms and capitalism.   I will survive either way but the Richmond government is already a financial blunder.

Re: Richmond City Proposes Rules and Regulations for AirBnB Hosts

in
Richmond, VA
Level 2

Hello everyone...

 

Was anyone clever enough to take a photo of the email address of attendees at the meetings?  I have prepared a flowchart for what you should be doing now - and the biggest change of the legislation is a requirement to register and pay a fee.  If you do not do this... nothing is different than you are doing now.  If what is happening now is "illegal" the likelihood of any enforcement with the new process is low.

 
Big picture is...
 - Process is too complicated now for the number of people already doing business with no complaints.
 - Likely outcome is doing all processes with a website like hostcompliance.com
 
The goal is...
 - Modify the proposed legislation to be less restrictive.
 - Avoid any processes with the city offices because its ineffective
 
 

Re: Richmond City Proposes Rules and Regulations for AirBnB Hosts

in
Richmond, VA
Level 2
I analyzed the survey results via a Freedom of Information Act requet fromt he city...
 
While the survey language is skewed against encouraging STRs and the data results are mostly text based - requiring a number of interpretations and manipulations to quantify... here is my basic review:
 
 
Of 1207 Respondents (<1% of Richmond Population):
 
47% of People have NO CONCERNS ABOUT STRs - 33% Neutral = 80%
     - 20% have some sort of concern or comment to review.
 
37% of People want NO DAY RESTRICTION - 21% Neutral  = 58%
     - 16% Want Less than 180 - 15% Want 180 Day Restriction - 11% Want More Than 180
 
The more detailed analysis will take some time - correlating how opinions are formed by the various groups.  Graphics would help but are hard to do based on the data collection method.
 
 
 
One question I am re-reading...  "STRs should be permitted as an accessory use" - I am certain many respondents are assuming the following...
 - Permitted = Allowed (as opposed to needing a special use permit)
  OR
 - Permitted = Requires Registration
 
61% of People think they should be allowed or approve of some regulation.
     - 38% of people think they should not be allowed, or don't need a permit?
 
 
 
In general, it is clear that some regulation will be presented.  I still think it is best to share with people the path on how they will comply with the new rules as opposed to creating a new obstacle or using the new regulation to "shut them down".  Based on the feedback from the survey and general observation... registration seems like a good idea.  Collecting an annual fee or a percentage of income seems like a good idea.  Creating obstacles seems to be generally opposed - such as special use permits, enforcing number of nights, number of people, or general restrictions on activity.
 
 
Again, I will share my feedback when presented to council,

Re: Richmond City Proposes Rules and Regulations for AirBnB Hosts

Level 2

@Tom---Erin0 wrote:
 
...the survey language is skewed against encouraging STRs....
.
.
.
.
 
One question I am re-reading...  "STRs should be permitted as an accessory use" - I am certain many respondents are assuming the following...
 - Permitted = Allowed (as opposed to needing a special use permit)
  OR
 - Permitted = Requires Registration

 

I agree. I noticed how the language of the results was written to imply most were against STRs. However when you read everything closely, I didn't think that was the case at all.

 

Also I believe people may have misread the question as I had to reread it a couple of times myself when I reviewed the survey results.

Re: Richmond City Proposes Rules and Regulations for AirBnB Hosts

in
Richmond, VA
Level 1

Richmond is experiencing a steep increase in housing costs and a shortage of affordable housing. Airbnb was founded as a way for people to make a little extra money on their primary dwelling- not to take housing off the market. If you’re renting a property that could be someone’s home, you’re contributing to the serious housing problem. 

 

The attitude of “well, tough for you but I got mine” is inexcusable.

Re: Richmond City Proposes Rules and Regulations for AirBnB Hosts

in
Midlothian, VA
Level 2

Wrong villain. Housing costs are being driven by the Fed, not evil landlords.

 

Rental pricing is rising at a slower rate than mortgage interest rates; running the numbers building here is hard unless it is a multi-unit complex. Rental income just doesn't cover costs. STR easing would drive an increase in smaller scale building that would further increase housing supply. 

 

I know this because I literally just decided not to build in Virginia, even though I live here, due to ambiguity about what I can legally do with the property. I am investing in Arizona, where the SB1350 ended city prohibitions on short-term vacation rentals,  driving a wave of construction. 

 

Richmond is every bit the tourist attraction that Sedona is, but I can't build here due to this short-sighted legislation, and misguided logic that drives it. 

Re: Richmond City Proposes Rules and Regulations for AirBnB Hosts

in
Richmond, VA
Level 10

@Laans0 How is the affordable housing shortage being driven by the Fed (assume you mean Federal Reserve)? You didn’t get into it. From your post, it seems the Fed operates differently in AZ than it does in VA ... ?

Hosting since Thanksgiving Day 2012 and over 1,000 stays. May you ever be the benevolent ruler of your own domain--YOUR life. Allow no other to rule over it.

Re: Richmond City Proposes Rules and Regulations for AirBnB Hosts

in
Richmond, VA
Level 1

Thanks for your input. 

The STR model is not without legitimate criticism, true. Affordable housing should be a driver of city policy. I advocate a no-limit on days-of-operation so the same people who are having trouble getting bills paid/affording housing can exploit their OWN homes to their fullest benefit should they choose to do so. 

We also have to consider the benefit of lowering the barrier to tourists which, if nothing else, the STR model does exceedingly well. Now that the meals tax is on the books (however one may feel about it), the IDEAL people to help pay that tax are tourists. This tax, as I understand it, goes directly to school funding. There's something to be said for encouraging those folks to come in and pay into that fund. Lowering that barrier by way of STR's could be a significant contribution to said meals tax. Very little data so far on that point. Would love to see the city run some figures. I'd hate to lose that money to Henrico or Chesterfield who have more reasonably priced hotels.

In the end, striking a balance is important. As the proposal stands currently, by way of the 180-day cap, it will likely take a lot of money out of the pockets of middle and low income people who use their home as an asset in the gig economy (in addition to picking up some of the "Big Fish" as you've indicated above). Do I want a situation in which someone can run several STR's at once (especially if that person doesn't live in the city)? No. But what is the golden number between that number and zero STR's? I'm not sure. 

I welcome more thoughts.

 

Re: Richmond City Proposes Rules and Regulations for AirBnB Hosts

in
Richmond, VA
Level 2
Hello Again Everyone (about 250 recipients)...  If you want to share feedback, please use this thread so it is publicly available.
 
https://community.withairbnb.com/t5/Hosting/Richmond-City-Proposes-Rules-and-Regulations-for-AirBnB-...  
 
The city recently announced that legislation is currently scheduled to reviewed and submitted.  Ordinance is attached and is mostly page 151 and beyond.  I have summarized below...
 
Rentals Longer than 30 days are exempt from these provisions, but if you operate an STR, you will still need to participate in the proposed if you host once per year for one night as an example.  

Short Term Rentals Permitted as Accessory Use Must...

Be Limited to 5 Bedrooms / 10 People per dwelling unit
 or
The max Certificate of Occupancy, whichever is less.  

Be booked by an adult and/or occupied by an adult if minors are present.

Operators of Short Term Rentals Must...


Own the property and occupy the property for 185 days a year.
 - This limits operators of single family homes to 180 days of un-hosted short term stays.
 - Owners of multi-family properties can occupy simultaneously and rent a separate dwelling unit over 185 days.
 - Ordinance says there is no limitation on number of booked nights but it seems to exclude a second home (single or multi family) from eligibility unless you live in it for 185 days.

Submit a Letter to Zoning Administrator
 - Condo Operators must show compliance with condo rules.
 - Post floor plans of dwelling layout showing usage, emergency details, safety details.

Receive a Certificate of Zoning Complaince
 - $300 per two years (Administrative Through Permits and Inspection)

Schedule:

City Planning Commission on January 6th at 1:30 pm in City Council Chambers 
City Council Meeting January 13th at 6:00 pm in City Council Chambers
  - If passed, necessary to comply by July 1, 2020.  Your $300 fee would only cover 18 months until December 2021.
  - 3rd Party Compliance Monitoring service at cost of ~$40,000 (from the city) will likely be used.
Expect Taxation or Additional Business License Requirement from Department of Finance in 2021.

My Objections:
 
"Internal Working Group" indicated they have modified the draft legislation based on citizen feedback 3/26/2019 to 5/31/2019.   The only major modifications that I see is that a Certificate of Zoning Compliance (rather than a Special Use Permit) will be the "thing" that you need to obtain, plus paying $300.  There is a significant restriction on where you can operate a Short Term Rental - YOU MUST LIVE THERE / second homes are ineligible - even if there are long term tenants in one unit and you rent the other as a short term rental.
 
My data analysis from June 12th 2019:
 
Of 1207 Respondents (<1% of Richmond Population):
 
47% of People have NO CONCERNS ABOUT STRs - 33% Neutral = 80%
     - 20% have some sort of concern or comment to review.
 
37% of People want NO DAY RESTRICTION - 21% Neutral  = 58%
     - 16% Want Less than 180 - 15% Want 180 Day Restriction - 11% Want More Than 180
 
Results were only complied from the 1,200 respondents on or around August 1st 2019 - follow up meetings and questions remain unanswered. 
 
What to Do...
 
1) Contact your city council representative and include your opinion to Marianne.Pitts@RichmondGov.com and Mark.Olinger@RichmondGov.com .
 
2) Attend and speak at the meetings at City Hall with your comments about the draft legislation (final opportunity).  Schedule Above in first two weeks of January.
 
3) I suggest we share a unified message AGAINST THE 185 DAY OWNER OCCUPANCY RESTRICTION .
     - Note that § 17.15. Effect of protest by twenty percent of the owners of property.
          + We can file protest with city clerk, if needed and present documentation (Names and Signatures)
          + This item would have to originate from a person authorized to administer oaths of property owners.
          + 20% of STR Owners Can Object - 47 % of survey respondents have no concerns with STR operations.
 
Please respond to me if you are interested in attending a meeting of like-minded individuals hoping to impact this decision... I would like to suggest Sunday 2 PM - location TBD.  And future meetings to be scheduled... notice how the city is notifying people and slipping it though during a holiday period limiting citizen feedback.  Sigh...
 
Regards,
 
Author
 
P.S. I am starting a new job and will be unable to attend the Jan 6th and 13th meetings and will need to find someone to be a speaker!
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