Short Term Rentals

Image Sign for Short Term Rental

Short Term Rentals are the rental of a dwelling for thirty (30) days or less (County Code Sec. 25-40).

Are Short Term Rentals Allowed?

  • Short term rentals are allowed in the non-zoned areas of the County.
  • Short term rentals are allowed by-right in Planned Commercial Development districts (PCD) and Residential Planned Unit Development districts (RPD).
  • Short term rentals are allowed in Agricultural districts (A-1) by issuance of a Special Use Permit. See below for process to obtain a special use permit.
  • Short term rentals are prohibited in any other areas of the County not listed above.
  • You can check your property on the County’s GIS system to see what zoning is on your property. 

How to obtain a Special Use Permit for Short Term Rentals

  • Meet with Planning staff, submit a complete application, pay necessary fees Applications on Website
  • Public hearing before the Planning Commission
  • Public hearing before the Board of Supervisors
  • If your application for a Special Use Permit is denied,  you may not operate a short term rental in the County.

Regulations for Short Term Rentals

  • Short Term Rental Registry – All operators of a short term rental are required to register with the County and pay an annual $200.00 fee. (Code section 5.5-70
  • Safety Regulations – Limits on occupancy, safety provisions, parking, and noise standards. (Code section 5.5-72).

(a)  The use of the dwelling unit for short-term rentals shall be primarily for residential purposes related to tourism or vacationing.

(b)  There shall be no change in the outside appearance of the dwelling or premises, or other visible evidence of the conduct of such short-term rentals. 

(c)  There shall be no more than two (2) adults per bedroom occupying the dwelling at any one time. An adult, for the purpose of this regulation, is any person over the age of three (3). The number of bedrooms in dwellings relying upon septic tanks and drainfields for sewage disposal shall be determined by reference to health department permits specifying the number of bedrooms for which the supporting system was designed. A notice shall be clearly posted in the dwelling indicating approved occupancy of the dwelling. 

(d)  All vehicles of tenants shall be parked in driveways or parking areas designed and built to be parking areas. In the case of multifamily dwellings, all vehicles must be parked in spaces specifically reserved for the dwelling unit being rented. 

(e)  All boats of tenants shall be parked on the lot on which the dwelling is located. In the case of multifamily dwellings boats must be parked in areas specifically reserved for the dwelling unit being rented. 

(f)  Noise generated off the lot or off the premises shall be in no greater volume or pitch than normally expected in a residential neighborhood. 

(g)   A type 2A-10BC fire extinguisher shall be mounted on the wall in common area or kitchen on each floor in the dwelling. Smoke detectors must be installed and functioning properly in every living area and bedroom within the dwelling. Each bedroom shall comply with building code requirements for egress.  An evacuation plan shall be provided in the home and clearly visible to renters.

(h)  The owner of a dwelling used for short term rental shall give the county written consent to inspect any dwelling used for short-term rental to ascertain compliance with all the above performance standards. An annual inspection shall be performed by the County.

Icon to Use to Register for a Short Term Rental Opens in new window

Icon to Use to Renew Short Term Rental Registration Opens in new window
  • Owner must provide proof of septic system approval.   If you need assistance with this documentation please contact the Franklin County Health Department at (540) 484-0292.
  • Proof of insurance shall be provided to the county.
  • Upon completion of your application, please contact Bill Raney to schedule your compliance inspection. The property owner or their representative must be onsite at the time of inspection.
  • Property owners may view the criteria being evaluated in the Short-Term Rental Information Packet as well as the Pre-Inspection Checklist.
  • Once the compliance inspection has been successfully completed and all other items are addressed, the short-term rental application will be approved and a Compliance Certificate will be issued for the property.
  • Compliance Certificates are valid for 12 months from the date of issue, and must be renewed after that time has expired.

Short term rentals in Franklin County require property owners to also register with the Commissioner of the Revenue for local taxation.  Please contact the Commissioner’s Office at (540) 483-3083, option 2 or go to Commissioner of Revenue Transient Occupancy Tax webpage.


Complaints or Comments about the use of a short term rental in Franklin County may be submitted at Safe Host Compliance-Franklin County, VA or call 540-269-4423.