NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The City of Norfolk held a town hall meeting on Monday for residents on short term rentals in the city.
Currently, most short term rentals are illegal because homeowners must rent or lease for no less than 30 days.
There is the exception of boarders who must be related by blood, marriage, adoption or legal guardianship to the homeowners.
Mayor Kenny Alexander met with residents both for and against short term rentals at the Mary D. Pretlow Library in Oceanview.
Chuck Taylor, who has used AirBnB to rent out his home since November 2014, says he’s had a great experience with it.
Taylor says many who rent from him are families here for deployments and others traveling along the East Coast.
“Those people are cooking their meals. They’re buying their groceries in Norfolk. They’re going to restaurants in Norfolk I recommend. We are bringing to hospitality a whole new income stream,” he said.
Other short term rental hosts say they were doing it to make money during retirement, but other homeowners were not sold on the idea.
“My concern is how they would affect neighborhoods with regular neighbors,” said Margy Baker.
Baker and other residents voiced their concerns about parties, safety, parking, and trash left behind by short term rental hosts.
Baker is also concerned that homes may be bought to serve only for short term rental purposes.
“What about the people who want a private calm neighborhood? I don’t want to live by a hotel, or I would, but now it’s coming to us,” she said.
The city is looking to change regulations by allowing short term rentals where owners are present.
This homestay rental would be available to homeowners throughout the whole city but they would need a zoning certificate, allow only two guests per bedroom, the maximum stay of 29 days, a business license, and pay transient occupancy taxes.
The city is also considering vacation home rentals, which is where the homeowner is not present.
This would be allowed only in downtown and coastal areas of the city.
Vacation home rentals would require permits granted by city council along with specific operational conditions such as required parking, on-town manager, fire inspection, and posing of city rules regarding noise.
The permit would be annual and homeowners would also need a business license and pay transient occupancy taxes.
The City would also make it voluntary for homeowners to register.
Some requirements would include the names and contact information for the owner, courtesty fire inspection, maintain records of guest stays, provide proof of liability insurance, and to identify adequate parking.
The City says it would provide benefits to those who register by including a “Norfolk registered” badge on listing sites, listing them on the City’s website, and promoting verified hosts through tourist websites.
Mayor Kenny Alexander says a short term rental ordinance should be presented to city council sometime in January.
Another town hall meeting will be held at the Virginia Arts Festival building at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 16.