Va. Beach weighs in on short-term rentals regulations

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — New rules for short term rentals could be on the way in the Resort City.

This week, Virginia Beach City Council sent their recommendations to the General Assembly. Lawmakers in Richmond will decide the future of regulation for online rentals like Airbnb and Flipkey.

The empty streets this time of year in Sandbridge remind you it is a land of rentals. It’s also a land of opportunity for people like Elaine Fekete.

“Due to economic issues, we needed another source of income,” Fekete said, “In Sandbridge, that’s an easy thing to do.”

To make ends meet, Fekete and her family rented their home.

“It’s been great and we rent it primarily through VRBO and Homeaway,” she explained. “They are online platforms that have been around for over a decade.”

This summer, the world of online short term rentals came under the city’s microscope. A shooting at an Airbnb residence caused the city council to dig deeper.

“Virginia Beach is of course the largest city, and these online rentals affect us as much as any across the state,” City Councilwoman Rosemary Wilson said.

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Next year, state lawmakers will decide the future of peer-to-peer renting in Virginia.

“We’re asking the state to give us the local controls,” Wilson said.

This week, the Virginia Beach City Council sent recommendations to Richmond. It included a demand for local control of taxes, insurance and regulations.

The regulations suggested in the last city council meeting caught Elaine Fekete’s attention.

“People are pushing for permits,” she said. “So on top of applying with the city and paying taxes, they want me to have a permit and with that permit comes regulations that are five pages long.”

Online rental regulations a divisive issue for Beach residents

Regulations have her concerned that they could take away that extra income her family and others rely on.

“That all is on hold and there is a lot of work to be done,” Wilson said. “I think some of the recommendations were overreaching.”

There’s a whole season until the renters return to Sandbridge, possibly with a new set of rules.