On September 12, the Montgomery County Council held a public hearing on Zoning Text Amendment 17-03 and Bill 2-16. The combined legislation would legalize short-term residential lodging activity in the County and establish a regulatory framework that includes licensing and registration, a primary residence requirement, a 90 day cap on “unhosted” rentals, certain safety requirements, keeping records of overnight guests, and more. Additional information about the proposed legislation appears below my signature.
For the most part, the hearing was noncontroversial but many amendments to further limit the activity and/or strengthen enforcement were brought forth by MHLA and others. Click here to read MHLA’s written testimony in SUPPORT of ZTA 17-03 and Bill 2-16.
A worksession is scheduled in the Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee on September 18, where all suggested amendments will be considered. A second worksession is already scheduled and we are hearing action by the full Council may be taken as early as October.
If the bill does not pass, short-term residential lodging activity under 30 days will remain illegal in Montgomery Count, and MHLA will push for enforcement of the existing regulation.
Additionally, Montgomery County has a “Voluntary Collection Agreement (VCA)” in place with Airbnb. We are encouraging the Council to consider terminating the VCA since it creates an unprecedented, secret tax agreement with extremely limited auditing capabilities. We support the tax being collected and remitted within the existing framework, and short-term rental platforms could utilize the same options used by OTCs if they choose to collect and remit tax on behalf of hosts.
Leveling the playing field between hotels and short-term rentals remains among MHLA’s highest legislative priorities. Feel free to reach out with questions or to share what you’re hearing in your community.
Thank you for your continued support of our efforts via MHLA membership.
Amy Rohrer, CAE
President & CEO
Click here for more information on ZTA 17-03 and Bill 2-16.
The Ask – FEMA needs every hotel and motel to register with the Transitional Shelter Assistance (TSA) program at https://ela.corplodging.com/ to help survivors of Hurricane Irma.
Under this TSA program FEMA helps applicants who are unable to return to their pre-disaster primary residence because their home is either uninhabitable or inaccessible due to a Presidentially-declared disaster. The current list of TSA lodging locations can be found here: http://www.femaevachotels.com/index.php.
TSA Program Overview:
Individuals and households may be eligible for TSA, if:
Under TSA, disaster survivors may be eligible to stay in an approved hotel or motel for a limited period of time and have the cost of the room and taxes covered by FEMA. For those who are eligible, FEMA will authorize and fund, through direct payments to participating hotels/ motels, the use of hotels/motels as transitional shelters. The applicant is responsible for all other costs associated with lodging and amenities, including, but not limited to incidental room charges or amenities, such as telephone, room service, food, etc.
The initial period of assistance will be 5-14 (adjustable to 30 days, if needed) days from date of TSA implementation. FEMA, in conjunction with the state, territorial, or tribal government, may extend this period of assistance, if needed, in 14-day intervals for up to six months from the date of disaster declaration.
Affected state, territorial, or tribal governments may request TSA. This form of assistance may be considered when the scale and projected duration of the declared incident results in an extended displacement of disaster survivors. The state, territorial, or tribal government, in coordination with FEMA, identifies areas that are inaccessible or that incurred damage which prevents disaster survivors from returning to their pre-disaster primary residence for an extended period of time.
TSA is intended to reduce the number of disaster survivors in congregate shelters by transitioning survivors into short-term accommodations through direct payments to lodging providers. TSA does not count toward an applicant’s maximum amount of assistance available under the Individuals and Households Program (IHP).
FEMA provides eligible applicants access to a list of approved hotels in their area, and applicants may choose to stay at any approved hotel or facility identified by FEMA. The list of approved hotels is available at http://www.femaevachotels.com/index.php or the FEMA Helpline. FEMA provides applicants with access and functional needs additional assistance in locating approved hotels to meet their needs.
FEMA bases the amount of TSA on the maximum lodging rate plus taxes for the locality, as identified by the General Services Administration (GSA). TSA is funded under Section 403 of the Stafford Act and is subject to a state cost-share. The State may request that FEMA authorize the use of TSA for the declared disaster in specific geographic areas.
Other TSA Details
When FEMA extends TSA, eligible applicants are allowed to remain in transitional sheltering through the end of the extended interval if they are otherwise eligible for Individuals and Households Program Assistance, or both of the following apply: