Short-term rental properties; definition; locality requirements and restrictions. (SB602)

Introduced By

Sen. Bill DeSteph (R-Virginia Beach)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Short-term rental properties; definition; locality requirements and restrictions. Prohibits, except as provided, localities from (i) requiring or allowing the approval of neighbors or the neighborhood for the operation of short-term rental properties; (ii) imposing requirements or restrictions that exceed those of regular properties, including special parking and occupancy restrictions; or (iii) restricting short-term rentals by geographic location within the locality by means other than the normal general land use and zoning authority. The bill expands the current definition of short-term rental to include any house provided for such purpose. Read the Bill »


01/12/2022: Awaiting a Vote in the Local Government Committee


01/12/2022Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/12/22 22102201D
01/12/2022Referred to Committee on Local Government



I am very surprised by Mr. DeSteph's sponsorship of this bill, which so brazenly subverts the expressed will of so many people in Virginia Beach who have worked so hard to obtain ordinances which limit the proliferation of the STR industry into our residential neighborhoods. Mr. DeSteph should be aware that the residents of our residentially zoned neighborhoods value the familiarity and comfort of knowing their neighbors. Short-term renters don’t spend enough time in our neighborhoods to even recognize their neighbors and their families, so it’s doubtful that they even care to ever get to know any of us. They certainly don’t plan to join the civic leagues. So even if the occupants of STR’s are well behaved, their mere presence prevents the development of the long term relationships that the vast majority of our residents expect. For this reason alone, enabling the encroachment of these businesses into our residential neighborhoods constitutes a complete disregard for one of the primary purposes of residential zoning.

We all should be aware that most municipal codes use the word “residential” in their zoning ordinances to define this type of zone, since most dictionaries define “residential” as meaning to permanently or continuously occupy a dwelling, and to occupy a place as one’s legal domicile. These definitions are clearly the antithesis of “short-term” occupancy.
Mr. DeSteph's bill also constitutes one of the most blatant examples of state over-reach into local affairs that I have ever witnessed.

For these reasons, I hope Mr. DeSteph withdraws his sponsorship of this terrible bill.

Larry Horvath, Baylake Pines Civic League Officer

John writes:

Obviously Senator DeSteph is only representing the interests of those rental property owners, managers and investors who are looking to cash in on the popularity of STRs located in otherwise residential neighborhoods. He has ignored the fact that the Virginia Beach City Council, on the urging of residents in "targeted" neighborhoods established ordinances to limit the spread of STRs and regulate them in accordance with current zoning laws and the wishes of those most impacted by the existence of a blatantly commercial establishment "next door". Clearly STRs are incompatible with the essence of the term neighborhood, especially if one considers that residents living in them are not on "vacation", are not temporary, nor are they transients. STRs can be disruptive, and harbor the potential for creating private nuisances that threaten the peace and security of the community. Residents, as such, are a vital part of the community, contributing to its vibrance and vitality. The volunteer, they coach, they attend community functions and support community activities. More importantly they vote and they pay taxes and are not absentee landlords relying on an unseen "agent" to front for them. STR advocates say their businesses benefit the community through various revenue streams such as patronage of local attractions and restaurants. Yet, STR promoters avoid addressing the cost to the community in the form of "Yellow Socialism" whereby the community bears the cost of supporting this industry through city services, code enforcement and even law enforcement when situations at STRs get out of hand. Additionally, how many tax breaks are owners receiving for operating rental properties? How much revenue is the city losing, especially when one considers the meager licensing fees charged for a permit and the pittance of remission for any fines incurred. Finally, the language in this bill deprives the and STRs neighbors of having a voice in the process and it usurps city council's role in regulating this unwelcome industry, leaving it to Richmond to decide what shall and shall not be legal or illegal in Virginia Beach. Ironically this is a Republican advocating government overreach down to the municipal level to deny permanent residence of the right to the peaceful enjoyment of their homes.

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