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Airbnb Arbitrage in Virginia Beach | What to Know!

Airbnb Arbitrage in Virginia Beach | What to Know!

Listing your house or apartment on Airbnb can be very lucrative, there's no doubt about that—but as new data shows, that’s especially true in some unexpected parts of the country. A new homes.com study of 75 different markets shows that Virginia Beach, Virginia, is one of the best places in the country to be an Airbnb host. Here you can earn an average of $221.16 per night hosting your place on the service.

But, buying a property and converting it into a short-term rental is not everyone's cup of tea, and that is why some property managers opt for the rental arbitrage model. In this article, find out a little about rental arbitrage and the key rules and regulations that property managers must be mindful of when considering rental arbitrage in Virginia beach.

Airbnb rental arbitrage is a business model that focuses on leveraging other people's properties through sub-lease agreements and renting those properties on platforms like Airbnb. In essence, rental arbitrage hosts will rent properties from the long-term rental market and rent them again as a short term rental.

Because of the simplicity of the business model, the Airbnb community has widely adopted it. Some benefits of rental arbitrage include:

  • Lesser investment is needed than if buying a property
  • Lower risk factor
  • Highly scalable business model
  • Less bookkeeping requirements

What is considered a Short-term Rental in Virginia Beach?

The city of Virginia Beach defines a short-term rental property as: "An entire dwelling rented for less than thirty (30) consecutive days for compensation."

Home sharing, when a room in an owner’s residence is offered for rent for less than 30 days by the owner, does not count as a short-term rental in this coastal region.

What Properties can legally operate as Short-term Rentals in Virginia Beach?

For a property to be eligible to operate as a short-term rental in Virginia beach it must meet certain criteria passed by the City Council such as:

1. Be located in the Sandbridge Special Service District

Properties in Sandbridge can operate as short-term rentals as long as they meet the regulations and obtain an annual zoning permit.

2. Be located in the Oceanfront Resort Short-term Rental Overlay District

  • Oceanfront Resort properties need to obtain a conditional use permit (or CUP) before operating as a short-term rental

  • Once approved for a CUP, these properties must also obtain a separate annual zoning permit.

What rules and regulations must be met by Short-term Rental Property in Virginia Beach?

What rules and regulations must be met by Short-term Rental Property in Virginia Beach?

All short-term rentals must meet certain regulations per City Zoning Ordinance Section 241.2:

1. Parking

The property needs to have one parking space per bedroom. Stacking of vehicles in a driveway counts, as long as each spot is 9ft. wide and 16ft. long. If not a parking plan has to be drafted and approved by the Zoning Administrator.

Note: Street parking DOES NOT count.

2. Events

A special event permit has to be obtained if the host or those renting the property want to host a gathering of between 50 and 100 people. Additionally, each property is only allotted up to three permits per calendar year.

3. Responsible Party

A person must be allocated to address concerns at the property within 30 minutes, and the name and contact details of this person must be made available.

4. Signage

The Annual Zoning Permit makes it mandatory for properties to have a 4-square-foot sign on the property identifying the building as a short-term rental home. No other signage is allowed other than architectural signs naming the structure.

5. Taxes

To maintain the property’s eligibility as a vacation rental all records of taxes and registration with the Commissioner of Revenue’s office must be kept up to date.

6. Posted Notices

Hosts are expected to leave out copies of the approved parking plan and a summary of city code (provided by the zoning administrator) for guests.

7. Trash

Trash must be kept in until weekly pickup

8. Number of Rental contracts per week

Properties are only allowed to accept up to 2 rental contracts within 7 consecutive days.

9. Maximum Occupancy

A maximum of three individuals are allowed per bedroom on the property after 11:00 p.m. and before 7:00 a.m.

10. Liability Insurance

A property must have liability insurance for 1,000,000 USD. Proof of insurance must be provided and kept with the Zoning Office.

11. Noise

No outdoor amplified sound can be used on the property between 10 p.m. and 10 a.m.

12. Fire Safety

Interconnected smoke alarms, a fire extinguisher, and carbon monoxide detectors (if any part of the property uses natural gas or propane) are required to be installed in the holiday rental, “to the extent permissible under state law.”

13. Accessory Structure

Accessory structures - such as a converted detached garage - can’t be used or occupied as short-term rentals.

14. Annual Zoning Permit

Whether or not a conditional use permit is required for your rental property, all approved short-term rentals in Virginia Beach must apply and pay for an annual short-term rental zoning permit.

What penalties will be faced if a Short-Term Rental isn’t compliant?

If a short-term rental is not compliant with the laws and regulations of the City Council can revoke permits even though enforcement of the rules and regulations for short-term rentals throughout Virginia Beach is primarily the responsibility of the Zoning Department.

Non-compliance of the property or illegal operations can result in a zoning violation fine of up to $200 any additional violation can increase the amount to $500. Additionally, property owners in violation will have 15 days before their hearing to bring their rental homes into compliance.

In Conclusion:


The short-term rental regulations finalized by the Virginia Beach City Council in September 2021, bring quite a bit of red tape to both starting and operating a rental home in the area. Whether you are maintaining or hoping to start a vacation rental business, it’s important to stay informed.

Keeping up with the local laws with regards to short-term and other associated rentals will have you hosting without an issue. If you follow the local laws and regulations you’ll surely have nothing to worry about!

Ready to find out how Hostaway can transform your business?

Hostaway is proud to support thousands of Property Managers and Airbnb Hosts Around the world. We take pride in being Top Ranked in Vacation Rental Software Review Sites: Capterra, G2, Software Advice, Trust Pilot, to name just a few! Check out our reviews and read the Hostaway Case Studies from real successful and growing Short-Term Rental Managers!