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 »


Bill Has Failed


01/12/2022Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/12/22 22102201D
01/12/2022Referred to Committee on Local Government
01/31/2022Stricken at request of Patron in Local Government (15-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)



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.

Nancy K Parker writes:

It is with great shock and sadness I read of Senator Bill DeSteph’s introduction of HB 602 concerning short term rentals. I live in one of those small neighborhood communities the short-term rental advocates have targeted. If I had known this was going to be the future of my residential neighborhood, I never would have invested over $200,000 rehabilitating my little house to make it my forever-home over 10 years ago.
The City Council of Virginia Beach found a means to protect residential communities as well as designate an area at the Oceanfront that was zoned to accommodate this use with regulations that would provide some safety and oversight. The STR advocates want to be able to act like mini hotels without the basic regulations of even that industry. Hotels limit the number of guests per room and must have parking available. Hotels are a business venture and they are not plopped in the middle of a residential community. STRs are a business intrusion into a residential zoning and the STR advocates are trying to obfuscate this fact.
The prospect of making any and all neighborhoods subject to short term rentals tears at the very fabric of what makes a cohesive community. To allow folks that have no vested interest in the community well-being, other than as a part of their investment portfolio, to determine our fate and our very essence, undermines the bedrock of a successful city/town, their stable residential communities.
I have lived in Virginia Beach over 55 years working, raising children, volunteering in many aspects of the city. I never expected to be in a community where I would not know my neighbors and I would be subjected to the whims of strangers. HB 602 will dramatically impact our/your residential communities and gut Virginia Beach’s regulations for the benefit of a few “outsiders”. Please kill this bill.

Jim Skarbek writes:

This attempted end around of local government by big money realtors and the politicians who sell out to them is shameful. Virginia is a Commonwealth and the place for setting local zoning regulations is clearly best left with the local governments. However, as the City Council of Virginia Beach supported the voters and residents of Virginia Beach on common sense regulation of Short Term Rentals over the interests of big money realtor interests, those interests have apparently decided to coopt state lawmakers into a power grab in their favor. Defeating this ill considered legislation is paramount. Failing that, be warned that the voters will remember. Governor Youngkin recognized the 3rd rail his opponent was touching with parents and education, but that is nothing compared to the power of the issue of STRs in Virginia Beach and the voter antipathy toward them.

Claire Yoder writes:

Here’s an idea—why not let people rent their own property out? The common law always allowed people to “derive income”from their personal real estate. You bought it, fee simple. You don’t need permission to use it as you see fit. Not so simple since zoning laws crept in and strangled private property rights. Some zoning makes sense. It protects your residential investment from commercial activity. Some times it even protects open spaces and nature. But when it starts micromanaging how you use your property—-paint colors, garage size, even mailbox shape—-it becomes an HOA. The city is not an HOA and neither is a civic league. Leave people alone to use their property to make a few dollars renting it out as a vacation destination. Thousands of families who cannot otherwise live on or near the ocean surely appreciate it. It helps the home owner have an investment and a second home. No one is trying to run down the neighborhood. And there is ZERO evidence to support the hysteria that AIRBNB wrecks neighborhoods. Many people who have used AIRBNB elsewhere oppose it in their own neighborhoods. Why? Renters only stay a week and usually just in summer months. Is this really ruining your life? We have to get along with the homeowners all year and no one is banning them. Are they? And where is the “power grab” for legislators? They are wading into the hostile waters here to support private property rights. PS- I DO NOT rent out my house and never have. I just support private property rights and resist government micro management in people’s private lives.

Conrad Agresti writes:

Hon. Lynwood W. Lewis, Jr, et al
Pocahontas Building
900 East Main Street
Richmond, VA 23219

Dear Senator Lewis:

I am writing to you today, and by copy to your colleagues on the Committee on Local Government, to urge you to vote AGAINST Senate Bill No. 602, which seeks to amend the Code of Virginia § 15.2-983 (Creation of registry for short term rental of property).

Modifications of this statute, as proposed by Senator Bill DeSteph, usurp the rights of local governments and individuals, while concurrently representing an unabashed pandering to special interests that seek to place, expand, and operate short-term rental businesses, unincumbered by local control or regulation, in neighborhoods zoned as Residential.

The Commonwealth of Virginia was termed the “Mother of Presidents” because many noble individuals stood up to the tyrannical rule of a distant sovereign seeking to abridge their self-determination. Passage of S.B. 602 would impose similar infringements upon the residential neighborhoods of Virginia Beach – albeit the tyrant being 110 miles away instead of 3,000.

Really, does the Senate of Virginia not have more pressing demands before it than adjudicating parking and other minutiae within the various villages, towns, and enclaves of the Commonwealth? These are purely local issues. For instance, parking in my neighborhood (as well as others in Virginia Beach) is limited because many streets lack sidewalks, are narrow, and require space for emergency vehicles to pass. How can anyone in Richmond know that – let alone commandeer local control via such overreaching fiat as exhibited in S. B. 602?

Commercial interests, such as short-term rentals that are pushed with Real Estate lobby funds, must not be allowed to encroach upon the tranquility of residential neighborhoods. Many of us committed our life savings to live in such environments principally because of the ambiance and peaceful enjoyment of happiness that a true neighborhood affords. This same conundrum is being encountered coast-to-coast, with neighborhoods prevailing nearly all of the time.

Please stand up to protect the individual freedoms of the vast majority of Virginians who oppose short-term rentals; not the selfish few who seek only to further line their pockets by “paving paradise” and destroying the neighborhoods of the Commonwealth.

Jan Perriello writes:

Senator DeSteph, there are no words to express my disappointment in you for your sponsorship of SB 602. Not only have you picked sides by choosing to publicly advance and legally protect Realtors and their Short Term Rentals, but you are blatantly taking away my right as a full time, tax paying resident of Virginia Beach, to object to having an STR party house near my home. Further, and more importantly, through your bill, you are dictating my constitutional right to "Freedom of Speech".

We respect the right of owners to operate STR's in our neighborhood so long as those owners and their agents respect our right to peaceful enjoyment of our homes. City Council's necessary regulations have been our saving grace and we believe they are doing an admirable job to protect our neighborhoods. How dare you support the rights of this industry and not the rights of the citizens of Virginia Beach who are the ones negatively affected by the many unsupervised STR's.

Your alliance with this very political and self-serving organization will be your downfall. I hope you are ready to retire at the end of your term since I predict you will not be re-elected.

Cathy Walsh writes:

I am amazed but maybe not by the people we help vote in to understand the needs of the people that did so! Virginia Beach as a city placed this issue for consideration and it was determined that the majority (NOT THE MINORITY) of voters and homeowners do not want STR's in RESIDENTIAL neighborhoods in Virginia Beach. Yes, people already own many, and they are profiting on the rental of these spaces to the general detriment to the homeowner who lives next door. I assume Senator DeSteph may own a few properties himself therefore it may be cutting into his income as well? I can't imagine any other reason to put this Bill forward knowing that many of his constituents already spoke their minds regarding NOT ALLOWING ADDITIONAL STR's especially in the oceanfront areas that fall to the north and south of the main oceanfront.

Paul Schubert writes:

Hon. Bill DeSteph
Pocahontas Building E608
P.O. Box 396
Richmond, VA 23218

I am writing to you today, to urge you to reconsider your position on Senate Bill No. 602, which seeks to amend the Code of Virginia § 15.2-983 (Creation of registry for short-term rental of property).

I reside in Ocean Park, a Shore Drive community in Virginia Beach. Ocean Park and neighboring Bayfront communities were successful in campaigning against the creation of an Overlay District for Short Term Rentals (STRs) last year that would otherwise have diluted our established permanent neighborhood.
The Bill you have submitted circumvents the protective local regulations for STR’s and runs counter to the will and desire of your constituency and appallingly favors the tourist over the tax-paying resident.

I personally am for the rights of property owners which would include long-term renting as much as it includes the sanctuary enjoyment by us who own and live next door to these rentals.

To be clear, I believe that owners should feel free to rent out their house on long term as Zoning restrictions allow, but I also expect the owners, not the Commonwealth, City, or my tax dollars, to maintain their property or provide control over those who are renting. These are tasks for property owners and their leased occupants.

Where Long term renters may not have the full investment of an ‘owner’, they are typically familiar engaged and considerate neighbors.

Short-term renters are vacation visit oriented. They are not going to work in the morning and more compelled to participate in vacation activities on a vacation clock - next door to us that have a 5am alarm.

Short-term renters are not motivated to value or to take a stake in the neighborhood.

When we (collectively) vacation, we invest in that brief time period, we consume, and we leave.

Creating an ‘Overlay’ district was argued to be a process solution only for City Council. It solved a Council regulation problem and would have created the unintended consequence of devaluing a neighborhood and creating more poorly funded bureaucracy, that currently does not have the staff for expanded code enforcement.

The proposed legislation, like a predetermined Overlay district, changes the use without the Zoning scrutiny or public comment that should take place as part of the application. It specifically does not address or consider the homeowner, who is invested in the neighborhood, the schools, and the City.

In great contrast, for those of us who own here, there is no ‘application’ or ‘process’ to have our property values improved. In part, that is an expectation for Government to perform in exchange for real estate taxes, such as complete sidewalks, and improved storm drains which have been promised for over 20 years, in Ocean Park, by the way.

It should be obvious to bureaucracy, that when bureaucracy is compelled to legislate change to residential norms with a broad brush – it is creating more problems for the silent majority - to appease the vocal minority.

Keep the Short-Term rental business at Hotels and Resort Communities and regulated at the local level.

Vicki Aiken writes:

I am against this proposed legislation. I want to preserve the integrity of neighborhoods.

Robert Kal writes:

Honorable Bill DeSteph

I recently learned of your sponsorship of Senate bill 602 that would effectively negate a localities rights to govern themselves, particularly as that governance applies to STRs. The City of Virginia Beach recently settled the contentious issue of STRs and resolved the matter in a way that allows STRs within the confines of an already commercial use area while excluding their locations within residential areas. The City Council did what they are elected to do - to listen to the citizens and craft an equitable solution. Now, it seems, you want to undo that through overreach from the state government.

I am very disappointed in this position, certainly because it will undo all that has been accomplished in the City of Virginia Beach but; more importantly, it is not consistent with the “less government” philosophy for which I thought you stood. I have to wonder what group has your ear more - the citizens or special interest groups. I ask you to reconsider your position and support of this legislation you are sponsoring.

Michael E. Duffy writes:

Mr DeSteph,

I am completely AGAINST your proposed legislation to give STR’s the ability to proliferate Wild West Style at the expense of “Homeowners”.

I have, until recently, had directly next door to my “residence “ an STR for sixteen (16 ) years.

This was sixteen years of HELL, HELL and more HELL !!!!

The pristine home next to my residence was bought by a Va Beach realtor who ran it into the ground by turning it into a Motel 6 on steroids.

Imagine Spring Break and the Movie “ Animal House “ every day for sixteen ( 16) years.

The driveway of the STR next to my residence had room four four cars and most weeks I could count 8-16 cars easily.

Screaming and yelling some of the most vulgar language and ear splitting music until 3-4-5 am from the STR next to me.

I never realized the the F…k word could be used in every sentence until the STR came to live next to me.

Garbage you say, well imagine mountains of rotting, maggot filled, stinking garbage in the August heat.

Crabs, shrimp and fish remains for weeks !!!

Two regular trash cans for 15-16 plus people ????

When the trash cans were taken to the curb ( which was rare ) they would lay in the yard or street for weeks from the STR next to me.

I have pictures of the above for your viewing pleasure !!!

Broken Beer and Liquor bottles in the driveway and street weekly from the STR next to me.

Our street, where young children “ reside “would resemble Richmond International Speedway virtually every day and night from the STR next door to me.

The STR next to me became infest in the worst way with Bed Bugs.

The STR next to me was infested with Roaches and Rats.

I had to hire an exterminator monthly to keep the Roaches at bay from the STR next door to my home.

I have pictures of six (6) City of Va Beach police cars at the STR next to my residence due to a crazy domestic situation that lasted for hours and hours.

And some of the people who rented the STR next door to my residence can nicely be described as Sketchy, Unsavory and not the kind you would invite to dinner at your private residence Mr. DeSteph.

And yes I did call the City of Va Beach over and over and over about all of the above and not a damn thing happened to rectify the situation from the STR next to me.

Oh and let’s be quite clear, not a damn penny was ever spent to fix the STR up next to me.

The STR next to my residence was milked for all it was worth and then dumped in a Short Sale for less than it was purchased for 16 years earlier.

And you Mr DeSteph want to support this type of destruction on my residential neighborhood ??????

Lastly, I swear on a stack of Bibles that all of the above is pristinely true.

Michael E Duffy

J. Benjamin Unkle, Jr. writes:

Why not discipline ourselves to let the elected local governments solve purely local issues, even (and especially) when the state leaders disagree because the issue is purely local.

We say we want the school boards to listen to and respect the rights of parents. Yet, the legislature does not respect the rights of local citizens with whom it disagrees to determine local land use in their own community through their own elections.

We are in danger of seeming only to want to empower one set of parents, or one set of local leaders/citizens, who already agree with the leaders' policy view anyway. We are quick to disempower and ignore the rights of the group that does not, even when they are in the majority. This bill is not honoring the will of the majority of the local voters on local issues: a bedrock principle of the traditional conservatism I once knew.

Brian D. Cooper writes:

Reposting from LAURENCE HORVATH’s letter above. I completely agree with him and could not have said it better. “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 industryj 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.”

David A. Herrelko writes:

This proposed legislation is a disastrous idea. No one knows better what best serves the interests of citizens than the local citizenry and local city/county governments that respond to them. It is wrong for the state to intervene and require "wild west", unregulated operation of Short-Term Rentals. This bill opens the door to outside corporations to buy and operate entire chains of STRs with no regard for the neighborhoods in which they wreak their havoc, no limits on occupancy, noise, and behavior, and increased demands on limit resources of local law enforcement. Wherever there is a clash of expectations (between families hoping for the quiet enjoyment of their homes and the safety of their children, as opposed to adolescent and liquor/drug compromised short term renters who come and go virtually anonymously), there is bound to be trouble. We have seen enough of criminal activity, disruptive noise, outrageous behavior, and threats to the quiet enjoyment of our property by all sorts of "bachelor/bachelorette parties", fraternity weekends with liquor consumption out of control, and decaying care for the houses they rent. Vote NO on this bill!

James Boland writes:

If enacted, SB602 would constitute one of the most blatant examples of state meddling and over-reach into local affairs in living memory. The people of Virginia Beach used the correct process to address the complex questions related to the STR issue over a six-year period of meetings and debates and then reached a workable solution that is now in-place.

This proposed legislation would enable the encroachment of STR’s into our residential neighborhoods in complete disregard for one of the primary purposes of zoning, which is to separate business zones from residential zones. The fact that most local ordinances use the word “residential” in their zoning ordinances proves this contention, since most dictionaries define “residential” as meaning to “permanently or continuously occupy a dwelling”, and “to occupy a place as one’s legal domicile”. This is the exact opposite of short-term occupancy.

The members of the Senate Local Government Committee should reject SB602 and thereby allow such complicated local issues as short-term rentals to be resolved at the most appropriate level, as has occurred in Virginia Beach. A single state-wide edict cannot possibly account for the various needs, characteristics, and concerns of the citizens of Virginia’s cities and towns.

Andrew writes:

Less government intervention is always a good thing. I support Mr Destephs bill and oppose the ordinances approved by VB city council

Joyce Walsh writes:

The City of Virginia Beach spent several years studying and receiving public comment concerning STR's in the City. The City Council put forth regulations that satisfied the needs and rights of homeowners and the investors seeking "hotelization" of residential neighborhoods. The State should not be interfering with the local city government who are representing their constituents and understand local issues.
Please kill SB 602!

John S Norris writes:

I oppose this bill. I believe unregulated STRs are detrimental to existing residential neighborhoods. Local governing bodies should be allowed to pass ordinances that reflect the will of their constituents.

Barbara Clark writes:

Please protect our neighborhoods from becoming hotel zones and reject this bill.

Gerrie King West writes:

Honorable Bill DeSteph:

I am a resident homeowner in the City of Virginia Beach, and I oppose this overreach of State Legislation. Please read
the Virginia Beach, Virginia Code of Ordinances for this beautiful city that YOU REPRESENT, excerpted below:

APPENDIX A - ZONING ORDINANCE clearly and succinctly prohibits the use of a home in a Residential District as a Short Term Rental:

"SHORT TERM RENTAL" is defined in this Code as "A dwelling that does not meet the definition of home sharing in which a room or rooms, or the entire dwelling are rented for less than thirty (30) consecutive days for compensation."

"Home Sharing" is defined as "A dwelling in which a room or rooms are offered for rental for compensation for a period of less than thirty (30) consecutive days by an owner who utilizes the dwelling as his principal
residence and occupies the dwelling during any such rental period."

Sec. 501. - Use regulations:

(a)Principal and conditional uses refers to a chart that "lists those uses permitted within the R-40 through R-2.5 Residential Districts. Those uses and structures in the respective residential districts shall be permitted as
either principal uses indicated by a "P" or as conditional uses indicated by a "C." Uses and structures indicated by an "X" shall be prohibited in the respective districts. No uses or structures other than as specified shall be permitted."

(b)Accessory uses and structures. Uses and structures which are customarily accessory and
clearly incidental and subordinate to principal uses...accessory uses and structures shall not exceed thirty (30)
percent of the floor area of the principal structure. Such accessory uses and structures include
but are not limited to:

(5)An accessory activity operated for profit in a residential dwelling unit where:

(i) there is no change in the outside appearance of the building or premises or any visible or
audible evidence detectable from outside the building lot, either permanently or intermittently, of
the conduct of such business except for one (1) nonilluminated sign not more than one (1)
square foot in area mounted flat against the residence;

(ii) no traffic is generated, including traffic by commercial delivery vehicles, by such activity in
greater volumes than would normally be expected in the neighborhood, and any need for
parking generated by the conduct of such activity is met off the street and other than in a
required front yard;

(iii) the activity is conducted on the premises which is the bona fide residence of the principal
practitioner, and no person other than members of the immediate family occupying such
dwelling units is employed in the activity;

(iv) such activity is conducted only in the principal structure on the lot;

(v) there are no sales to the general public of products or merchandise from the home; and

(vi) the activity is specifically designed or conducted to permit no more than one (1)
patron, customer, or pupil to be present on the premises at any one time.

The following are specifically prohibited as accessory activities:
(7)Rental of rooms in a dwelling or the entire dwelling thirty (30) consecutive days or
more is an accessory use to the dwelling.

To paraphrase this long-established Zoning Code that PRE-DATES the advent of investor-owned for-profit "Short Term Rental" BUSINESSES: RENTALS OF LESS THAN THIRTY (30) DAYS ARE NOT PERMITTED IN RESIDENTIAL DISTRICTS.

Home Sharing- which IS permitted for less than 30 days- requires that the owner "utilizes the dwelling as his principal residence and occupies the dwelling during any such rental period."

The only BUSINESS USE permitted in any RESIDENTIAL District is a Conditional Use with many restrictions that preclude Short Term Rentals as a Use.

As an Architect and Resident Home-Owner for most of my adult life, I have spent years studying and following the Zoning Codes of Virginia Beach that, until now, have protected family life in our neighborhoods (Yes, "FAMILY" is also defined in this Code).

Please, Mr. DeSteph, abide by our Codes, read the comments above that describe the very real disruptions to residential life and degradation of our neighborhoods, and also realize: your own neighborhood will be included in whatever you decide.

With respect,

Gerrie K West

Bryan Selph writes:

Virginia Beach does NOT need the help of state government to determine appropriate rules for short term rental property. Our city council has worked for months to create rules that will protect the ambiance of our resident neighborhoods from the invasion of weekend rental properties. I live on 23rd Street 5 blocks from the oceanfront. The oceanfront has hotels that are struggling to compete with the 'mini-hotels' that are popping up in our neighborhoods.

My home's location is about 500 yards from the short-term rental on 26th Street where gunfire erupted during a late-night party this spring. This is what uncontrolled rentals from the internet get you: disrespectful trash raising hell in a densely packed area with little or no parking. I do not want my neighborhood to turn into a mini-hotel zone.

Senator DeSteph's SB602 does not consider the unique qualities of Virginia Beach's neighborhoods like Old Beach even though he is - I think - a resident when not in Richmond. The fact that his bill removes parking considerations from short term rental rules shows that he has not considered the feelings of people like me that actually LIVE in these neighborhoods or the limited parking available to RESIDENTS.

Virginia Beach's City Council is qualified to manage this resident / developer conflict.


Amanda Robinson writes:

I am seriously concerned about Bill HB602. This bill will remove all regulatory powers to a body that will not likely govern at the specific local level that is necessary. Virginia Beach City Council has worked for years to try to balance the needs of the residential communities with investors in STRs/realty groups. Our City has only recently come to that middle ground after countless public forums, committee debate, planning commission work and meeting with civic leagues and community groups. This bill will remove local input and neighborhood input from the equation allowing for STRs and realty companies to take over certain neighborhood communities making the residents second-class citizens. Please do not choose the minority of realty special-interest groups over the Virginia residents that make up these communities that already feel the burden of living near STRs.

There are currently regulations that there is a limit on the number of STRs in our neighborhood. We have been allowed to petition each person that is interested in using the house they buy here as an STR at Planning Commission and City Council Meetings. This is an invaluable process. The residents and communities and investors are all able to have a voice. Virginia Beach is moving towards having zones designated for STRs, but the people that currently have the conditional use permits may continue to operate those houses as STRs. Our neighborhood does not find the new regulations perfect, but we find them an acceptable compromise.

STRs present many problems. In my personal experience in the 12 years since I have been a homeowner there has been shootings on my block, drag racing, public urination on lawns, loud music at 1, 2, 3 in the morning, and trash and parking violations galore. My friends and neighbors have have been threatened and fearful when they have tried to politely intercede because it is a weeknight and their children and spouse need to sleep because of work and school the next day. The police have been called, sometimes repeatedly by multiple neighbors. The police haven’t always been able to attend to the calls, and are much less successful at resolving the problems.

If we just choose to look at the bill looking to remove things like parking regulations, let me indicate what this may do to our neighborhood. Currently my home is next to an STR, and there are at least five that I know of in a quarter mile of my home. We do not have street parking. The people that are renting do not always adhere to the current regulations. The non-emergency line is often contacted to rectify this problem. The people that are most impacted are the residents, and the emergency personnel required to enforce them. If you remove the requirements for adequate parking to be considered as part of a rental, there will be major problems. The homes may have 4-5 bedrooms, but state that occupancy is 16-20 people. These homes are often used as party houses for people in their 20s. The police will be contacted more if both STRs are allowed to invade and take over the neighborhood to address parking violations, and emergency vehicles not having access. They are already burdened with the neighborhood calls with regard to this, and we have “limitations” to the number of STRs allowed in our community. The police at the first precinct, which is our precinct, usually have their hands full with the Virginia Beach oceanfront.

Our City Council has come up with a satisfactory solution. Please do not usurp its power. We citizens that populate these desirable
Communities should be afforded the right to peaceful enjoyment of our homes, as well as being secure and comforted knowing our neighbors.

Each locality is unique and deserves local attention to attempt an adequate balance between residents and the STR occupants/interests. I hope my letter demonstrates this. Please kill this bill. Let the localities work out STR regulation and policies for themselves.

Sandra Roberts Deiderich writes:

We are writing to express our disappointment regarding your House Bill 602 introduced to have Virginia Beach loosen its control over short-term rentals. This Bill proposes to overturn the regulations for Short Term Rentals that was voted on by the Virginia Beach City Council. Your recent comments about how Virginia Beach laws are affecting long-standing realty companies and that the City went a little too far, is troubling. We disagree with your position, your concern should be for the permanent residents who live at the Ocean Front who value their neighborhoods as a place to live and raise families, and who pay real estate taxes. This Bill seems to put emphasis on realtors and the financial advantages for owners of STRs. Additionally vacationers have no stake in our communities.

We retired to Virginia Beach almost four years ago, based on our desire to enjoy the lifestyle that living close to the Ocean Front offers. We have had two adverse incidents directly pertaining to Short Term Rentals in our neighborhood. The first involved a young male attempting to break in our front door at 4:00 AM in the morning. He had been partying and had gotten lost as to what house he was staying. This young man was so inebriated and on drugs, that he continued his attempts to enter our home even when my husband apprehended and prevented him from entering. The Virginia Beach Police responded quickly, and took him. One concern that was never addressed by the VBPD; they never asked us to file a police report. We assume that this was to reduce crime statistics.

Our next door neighbors rented one of their duplexes as a Short Term Rental to three young women. On a summer evening, approximately 75 to 100 people were partying in this 4-bedroom house. This situation quickly was out of control. We, the neighbors, realized this was a very volatile situation, and involved the police and owners. In a few short hours, these people caused considerable damage to our neighbor’s property, which we observed first-hand. They ripped hardware off the walls, food and booze was on the walls and floors, Pot smoked filled the house, and much more. The Virginia Beach Police arrived in 10 police cars with sirens going and our street completely blocked. When the VB Police arrived, people were jumping from the second floor balcony and running through our yards to escape. Our neighbors spent two weeks to restore their property; they immediately sold it. Speaking with the Police was very illuminating; they emphatically stated they had little authority in dealing with these types of situations. Basically they could only empty the premises and tell the people they were trespassing. The VB Police Officers also stated that this was a growing occurrence with Short Term Rentals, and their hands were tied.

As permanent residents, it is not our responsibility to have to police our neighborhoods and tolerate these types of disruptions to our lives. We do not want the constant loud partying, parking issues, and lack of respect for our property and neighborhood. We feel the restriction to have 75 percent of the neighborhood in compliance with allowing STRs is very reasonable and fair. After all, we’re the ones who are living with STRs.

We ask that you reconsider and withdrawal this Bill, and think about the permanent residents who live, vote, and love their neighborhoods.

Mary Talkington writes:

Virginia Beach has put substantial effort into developing land use regulations that accommodate STRs while protecting rights of full-time residents. HB602 guts all local regulations for parking, noise containment, and number of people per bedroom. HB602 rewards investors and realtors and ignores the rights of local full-time residents who are the core strength of our city. It is our full-time residents who pay year-round taxes and work and volunteer locally that make our city a nice place to live and raise families. STR owners and renters do not have these same, best interests of our city in mind. Please kill this bill and let local governments determine the best STR regulations for their city.

Ken Chrisman writes:

UNWANTED interference in local governing. STRS are an absolute danger to the permanent residents of neighborhoods subjected to them, a danger to both their persons and the permanent residents' property values. The people who rent STRS have little regard for the permanent residents who live in the neighborhoods that your bill targets. These are neighborhoods which, as pointed out by numerous other posters, are of a residential character, not a commercial rental zone, which your bill will impose on us.

In late 2020, this matter was successfully handled by VB City Council after there was an attempt to subject our neighborhoods along the West Shore Drive corridor to imposition of an STR overlay allowing people who have no interest in our neighborhood, other than short-term profit, to be given the absolute right to set up STRS without the opportunity for notice to and public comment by neighbors who were to be subjected to them. When many of us rose up to oppose it, so many at the Council meeting that the crowd overflowed into the lobby, our neighborhoods were saved by being eliminated from the proposed overlay.

Our speakers stressed that the ~90% of the neighborhood who are full-time permanent residents, (many of us have lived here for decades), have no desire to become landlords. Rather, we just want to live and raise families in our close-knit neighborhoods where we know and look out for each other. We have no desire to be subject to the gunfire, rotting garbage, streets blocked by STR vehicles preventing EMS access, music and parties blaring all night long, trespassers, public urination, etc., which your bill will impose on us.

VB City Council knows how to handle these local matters. This bill is an unwarranted interference into local matters. Your proposal is contrary to every notion, of which I am aware, of GOP bedrock principles of local control of local matters. Your bill is an overreach of state government more akin to that of your political opponents than of your party.