Short-Term Rental Ordinance

Background

Short-term rentals (STRs) are accommodations that are rented for a period of less than 30 days. They are often rented out by individuals or businesses to tourists or business travelers. STRs can include apartments, houses, condos, and even rooms in a home. The Virginia Attorney General Opinion has clarified that short-term rentals on agricultural property are categorized as agritourism activities and, therefore, cannot be subjected to regulation by the local zoning code. For areas in Louisa County not zoned agricultural, the Short-Term Rental Ordinance is intended to provide the broadest coverage in protecting property owners, increasing occupant safety, and guarding community interests.

The Short-Term Rental Ordinance

The Louisa County Board of Supervisors held a public hearing, Ordinance – To Amend Land Development Regulations – LDR2022-05, Short Term Rentals, at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, October 2, 2023 in the Louisa County Office Building Public Meeting Room. The Board was presented with the Board Workgroup Recommendation and the Planning Commission alternative was discussed. The Board approved "Ordinance – To Amend Land Development Regulations – LDR2022-05, Short Term Rentals" with amendments. Louisa County Code of Ordinance should reflect the codified amendment soon. The effective date of this code is January 1, 2024.

Who is Affected by the Short-Term Rental Ordinance?

  • A1 & A2 zoned properties: Short-term rentals are allowed by-right (in alignment with the Virginia Attorney General Opinion) 
  • R1, R2, & RD zoned properties within growth areas: Short-term rentals are allowed by-right with restrictions. These restrictions are outlined in the ordinance.
  • R1 or R2 properties outside growth areas and commercially or industrially zoned properties: Require a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for short-term rentals

If you have waterfront property on Lake Anna, you most likely are located in a growth area. If you are unsure of your zoning information, see Zoning District Descriptions and our Determine Your Zoning District webpage at louisacounty.gov. Contact Community Development for assistance. 

Read the Short-Term Rental Ordinance

Click to see an overview of the Short-Term Rental Ordinance.
STR Oridinance Information_Page_1
Click to see the amended ordinance details to include Short-Term Rentals. Section 86-114 adopted 10.02.2023_Page_1

Understanding Next Steps as a STR Owner

Requirement Per the Ordinance
Applicable To***
How to Satisfy Requirement
Owners of dwellings used for short term rental shall provide contact information for the owner and/or any authorized property manager to Louisa County and the dwelling’s subdivision governing body if one exists.STRs in zones R-1 (GAOD), R-2 (GAOD), or RDIf they have not already done so, STR owners will need to update contact information with the Commissioner of Revenue's Office. Per the ordinance, the County should have contact information by January 1, 2024. The STR owner will also need to provide contact information to applicable HOAs/POAs.

A property manager may complete this form on behalf of a client if a Power of Attorney is uploaded along with form.

The owner shall provide the current Louisa County Code chapters relative to Noise (51)and Solid Waste (62) as well as the definitions for Special Occasion Facilities and Gatherings as part of Short-Term Rental contracts.

STRs in zones R-1 (GAOD), R-2 (GAOD), or RD

STR owners will need to link to or include a copy of this information in their rental contracts executed on and after January 1, 2024:
  • Noise (51) (Download a file at this link if needed)
  • Solid Waste (62) (Download a file at this link if needed)
  • Definition for Special Occasion Facilities and Gatherings
    • Special occasion facility. A place of assembly where dances, parties, receptions, and other gatherings are held for profit, except when sponsored or co-sponsored by government, civic, charitable, or nonprofit groups.
    • Outdoor gathering. Any temporary organized gathering expected to attract 200 or more people at one time in open spaces outside an enclosed structure. Included in this use type are entertainment and music festivals, church revivals, carnivals and fairs, and similar transient amusement and recreational activities not otherwise listed in this section. Excluded uses are activities held in public parks or on public school property and non-commercial gatherings having less than 500 people. An event shall be commercial if a charge is imposed or a donation is requested for admission to such event or for the sale of anything at such event.
Owner must notify tenants that events, rentals, Special Occasion Facilities and related uses are prohibited, except with valid conditional use permit according to Louisa County Code.STRs in zones R-1 (GAOD), R-2 (GAOD), or RD

This notification may be included in the rental agreement or in a confirmation message regarding the rental. These notifications apply to rentals on or after January 1, 2024.
Owner must comply with all Virginia Department of Health regulations.STRs in zones R-1 (GAOD), R-2 (GAOD), or RD

To maintain safety for tenants and the community, short-term rental (STR) owners must check their permits with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and follow all stated requirements. All VDH permit regulations need to be met by January 1, 2024.
The dwelling must comply with all applicable state building code and safety regulations.STRs in zones R-1 (GAOD), R-2 (GAOD), or RD

To guarantee tenant safety, all buildings must meet the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC) standards. The Community Development issues a Certificate of Occupancy for each property, and all properties must comply with these certificates by January 1, 2024.
Owners unable to meet all of the above requirements shall be prohibited from operating a Short-term rental of a dwelling without obtaining a Conditional Use Permit from Louisa County Board of Supervisors.STRs in zones R-1 (GAOD), R-2 (GAOD), or RD

STR owners that cannot meet the above requirements by January 1, 2024 should contact the Community Development department about a Conditional Use Permit (CUP).
A violation under this section shall be enforced as provided in section 86-11 and section 86-11.1.STRs in zones R-1 (GAOD), R-2 (GAOD), or RD

To address a notice of violation, you can fix the issue or challenge the violation in court. If you are found to be in violation of this section by the court, you may be required to obtain a Conditional Use Permit, CUP, before continuing operations.
The effective date of this code shall be January 1, 2024.STRs in zones R-1 (GAOD), R-2 (GAOD), or RD

To be in compliance, STR owners shall complete the above by January 1, 2024.


*STRs in A-1, A-1 (GAOD), and A-2 (GAOD) zones are allowed by-right without restrictions.
**STRs in any zone other than zones that are by-right or by-right with restrictions (A-1, A-1 (GAOD), A-2 (GAOD), R-1 (GAOD), R-2 (GAOD), or RD), must obtain a Conditional Use Permit to operate in Louisa County.


Questions?

If you have specific questions regarding your STR property, you may contact the Zoning Administrator via email at planningzoning@louisa.org.