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  • Scott Westfall

Getting an Annual Short-term Rental Zoning Permit [Virginia Beach]

Updated: Jun 26

Obtaining a short-term rental zoning permit each year is one of the finalized regulations for all approved vacation rental properties in Virginia Beach.

An annual short-term rental zoning permit is required for all approved STR owners in Virginia Beach.

In this post, we’ll break down what rental home owners can expect when applying for their annual zoning permit. We also provide all the resources you need to get started with your application today.

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Do I need a Short-Term Rental Zoning Permit?

Not all properties throughout the city are permitted to operate as a short-term rental. As of 2021, only properties that meet one of the following criteria are allowed to rent out on a short-term basis:

  • They have grandfather status

  • They are located in the Sandbridge Service District

  • They are located in the Oceanfront Resort Overlay District AND have an approved Conditional Use Permit

  • They have a Conditional Use Permit that was approved before September 7, 2021.

More details on the approved short-term rental criteria can be found here. If none of the above applies to your property, you can not use it as a short-term rental as of July 2021.

All Virginia Beach properties that meet one of the four criteria above and are approved as short-term rentals (including Airbnb and VRBO homes) must obtain a zoning permit each year.

What documentation do I need to get a zoning permit for my rental home?

The first step toward getting the zoning permit you need is getting your required paperwork together. During the application process, the City of Virginia Beach will ask for:

  1. A sworn statement: this brief testament basically just says you own the property, plan to use it as a vacation rental, will follow all the City’s rules, and will keep the emergency contact up-to-date.

  2. A life-safety inspection report: this inspection checks the property for safety features (fire extinguishers, smoke, and CO2 monitors) as well as adherence to some of the rental home regulations. You can find the report template here for a full look. Is your short-term rental managed and inspected by a property management company certified in Virginia Beach? Good news - they only have to submit this report once every three years for you. Otherwise, you will need a certified ASHI home inspector or City Zoning Inspector to complete it for you annually.

  3. A structural safety inspection report: every three years, your short-term rental zoning permit application needs to include this report completed by an architect or engineer licensed in Virginia. They will inspect any exterior structures on the property: decks, stairs, balconies, porches. Once they finish, you’ll also need to post a visible placard with the maximum occupancy for these structures.

  4. A copy of your parking plan: the short-term rental rule in Virginia Beach is that you need to have one off-street parking spot per bedroom. To prove your rental home meets the requirements, here’s how to complete the parking plan:

    1. Make sure each parking spot is 9’ x 18’

    2. Get an up-to-date property survey sealed by a licensed design professional. (This costs between $400-$600 in 2021.)

    3. Provide an illustration of your parking plan that notates the required parking spots. You can draw this on top of a copy of the survey.

    4. Bonus: if your property is an approved short-term rental but can’t meet this requirement, you can lease a spot in a local parking garage in some areas of Virginia Beach. The Zoning Administrator who approves these plans will need to review and consider if this may count as a spot for your particular property.

  5. Proof of liability insurance: you need $1,000,000 in insurance with the address of your rental property on the document.

  6. *Your short-term rental registration receipt: you need proof of your property’s unexpired registration with the Virginia Beach Commissioner of Revenue.

  7. *Receipts from paying your Transient Occupancy Taxes: the Commissioner of Revenue can also provide these proofs of payment.

*Short-term rental properties in Sandbridge Special Service District must keep their registration and taxes up to date, but they aren’t required to submit these receipts with their application.

How much does a Short-Term Rental Zoning Permit cost?

The annual fee for your zoning permit is $200. If you don’t use the online application, you should include a check or money order with your mail-in application

What happens after I submit my permit application?

Once you submit all the required documents, someone from the Virginia Beach Zoning Department will review your application. They will make sure that everything seems to be in compliance with current regulations and ask for payment (if you did the online application).

Your permit will arrive by email, and it’s good for one year. That’s it!

Own a short-term rental in Hampton Roads? Impress your guests by adding a link to these top things to do in Virginia Beach this season in their confirmation email!

The Bottom Line

If you own or operate an approved short-term rental property in Virginia Beach, you must now apply annually for a Short-term Rental Zoning Permit. Although an added operational step for STR owners in Virginia Beach, getting a Short-Term Rental Zoning Permit in Virginia Beach is a pretty simple process once all of the paperwork is in order.

Have questions about the Virginia Beach Annual Short-Term Rental Zoning Permit? Reach out to our team today.


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