On Tuesday, October 10, the Montgomery County Council unanimously passed legislation to license and regulate short-term rentals (STRs) like Airbnb and VRBO. This is a great win for MHLA and the lodging industry in Maryland.
The bill places the following restrictions on STRs:
- A host may list only their primary residence with a 120-day limit on “unhosted” rentals. This ensures that real estate speculators or “illegal hotel” operators will not exploit STR platforms.
- Each host must have a license from the County, and renew it yearly. The licensing framework includes processes to challenge license applications, suspend licenses for any violations, and levy fines of $500 to $750 per violation.
- Hosts must follow basic rules in order to obtain a license from the County. The host must certify compliance with health and safety standards, notification of neighbors, and HOA/Condo restrictions. Hosts must also keep a record of guests and provide off-street parking.
- Listings on STR websites must include the host’s license number in the text of their listing and provide a State Sales & Use Tax Account Number as part of their application. This will help strengthen enforcement, enable the County to evaluate each applicant’s compliance before a license is issued, and provide greater transparency into the tax obligation of STRs.
This is one of the most robust regulatory frameworks passed nationwide to date and helps to level the playing field between hotels and short-term rentals, which is among MHLA’s highest legislative priorities. As such, we will continue to advocate on behalf of the lodging industry in regards to this issue on both the state and local levels.
Amy Rohrer, CAE
President & CEO
Maryland Hotel Lodging Association