Charleston, West Virginia city skyline

West Virginia Airbnb Laws and Short-Term Rental Regulations — Here’s What You Need to Know

Navigating the landscape of short-term rental laws and Airbnb/Vrbo regulations in West Virginia requires understanding both state-level guidelines and local ordinances that may apply.

West Virginia, known for its rich natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities, has seen a rise in the popularity of short-term rentals through platforms like Airbnb, VRBO, and others. As such, the state and individual municipalities have developed regulations to ensure that this booming sector operates smoothly, respects community standards, and contributes fairly to local economies.

If you have questions about short-term rentals in West Virginia, contact Proper Insurance. Our agents are experts in the vacation rental industry. Call 888-631-6680 today.

Charleston, West Virginia city skyline

State-Imposed Regulations for Short-Term Rentals in West Virginia

Operating a short-term rental in West Virginia comes with a set of responsibilities mandated at the state level. Understanding these regulations is crucial for hosts to fully comply with the law, avoiding potential fines and ensuring a smooth operation of their short-term rental business.

Tax Requirements

All short-term rental hosts in West Virginia are required to collect state sales tax from their guests. The collected taxes must then be remitted to the West Virginia State Tax Department. This applies to rentals of living quarters or accommodations in hotels, motels, inns, or similar places, including residential properties offered for short-term rental.

In addition to state sales tax, hosts may also be responsible for collecting and remitting local occupancy taxes. Certain municipalities or counties levy these taxes and apply them to short-term rentals. The rate and the requirement vary by locality, so it’s essential to check with local tax authorities to determine what applies to your rental property.

Registration and Licensing

While West Virginia does not currently require a statewide license specifically for short-term rentals, hosts should verify whether their business activities necessitate registering with the state as a business entity. This may involve obtaining a general business license and registering for a tax account to manage sales and occupancy tax submissions.

Safety and Health Regulations

The state imposes certain safety and health standards to ensure the well-being of both guests and residents. These can include requirements for smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, and adherence to building codes. Hosts should ensure their properties meet these basic safety requirements to comply with state laws and provide a safe environment for their guests.


Short-term rental hosts in West Virginia are advised to review their insurance policies to ensure they have adequate coverage. While not explicitly required by state law, having liability insurance that covers short-term rental activities can protect hosts against claims for injuries or damages that occur because of the short-term rental business, whether on the property or off-premises, and whether it happens to the guest or because of the guest.

Compliance and Penalties

Failure to comply with state-imposed regulations can result in fines, penalties, or suspending the right to operate a short-term rental. Hosts must keep abreast of their obligations under West Virginia law and ensure all taxes are collected and remitted, safety standards are maintained, and any required registrations are completed.

Short-term rental insurance. Call Proper Insurance for a consultation or get a quote online in minutes.

Local Jurisdictions in West Virginia: Navigating Short-Term Rental Laws

Understanding Local Laws

In West Virginia, while state-imposed regulations provide a framework for short-term rental operations, local jurisdictions often have specific rules that reflect individual communities’ unique needs and concerns. These local ordinances can significantly impact how you manage your short-term rental, from where it can be located to the number of guests you can host. Recognizing and adhering to these local laws is crucial for running a compliant and successful short-term rental business.

Common Local Regulations

Local regulations surrounding short-term rentals can vary widely across West Virginia’s cities and counties. Here are some common areas covered by local jurisdictions:

  • Zoning Laws: Many municipalities have zoning ordinances that dictate where short-term rentals can operate. Some areas may be zoned exclusively for residential use, potentially prohibiting or limiting short-term rental activities.
  • Business Licensing: Depending on the location, hosts may need to apply for and maintain a valid business license to legally offer short-term rentals. This process might include inspections and adherence to specific operational standards.
  • Safety and Health Codes: Local health and safety regulations are designed to protect both guests and community residents. These might include requirements for smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, and emergency exit plans. Even if the state of West Virginia does not require it, it is strongly advised to implement basic safety measures at your short-term rental.
  • Occupancy Limits and Parking: To mitigate the impact on local communities, some jurisdictions limit the number of guests per rental and specific parking requirements.
  • Noise Control and Waste Management: Ordinances regarding noise levels and trash disposal are common and aimed at maintaining the quality of life for all residents.

Other Considerations Before Short-Term Renting in West Virginia

Navigating the regulatory landscape of short-term rentals in West Virginia involves more than just adhering to state and local laws. Hosts must also consider the broader impacts of their operations, stay updated on regulatory changes, and understand the importance of responsible hosting. This section delves into these critical areas, providing insight and guidance to help ensure short-term rental operations contribute positively to the tourism industry and local communities.

Dynamic Regulatory Environment

The rules governing short-term rentals are not static; they evolve in response to changing societal norms, economic pressures, and community needs. Legislative bodies at the state and local levels regularly review and update regulations to address new challenges and opportunities the short-term rental market presents. For hosts, this means:

  • Staying Informed: Regularly check official state and local government websites, subscribe to relevant newsletters, and join host communities or associations that offer updates and advice on regulatory changes.
  • Flexibility: Be prepared to adapt your rental operations in response to new laws or amendments to existing regulations. This may involve modifying your property, adjusting your hosting practices, or changing your business model.

Community and Economic Impact

Short-term rentals can have significant impacts on local communities and economies. Positive contributions include increased tourism, support for local businesses, and opportunities for short-term rental property owners to earn additional income. However, concerns about housing affordability, neighborhood dynamics, and resource strain are also prevalent.

Hosts can play a role in mitigating negative impacts by:

  • Promoting Local Businesses: Encourage guests to visit local shops, restaurants, and attractions, enhancing the economic benefits of tourism.
  • Respecting Community Standards: Operate your rental in a way that respects the character and norms of your neighborhood. This includes adhering to noise ordinances, managing guest behavior to the best of your ability, and maintaining the appearance of your property.

Given the complexity of real estate and adhering to hospitality law, seeking legal advice can be a prudent step for short-term rental hosts. Legal professionals can offer guidance on compliance, help navigate disputes, and provide representation if necessary. Consider legal assistance for:

Hosting Responsibly

Responsibly hosting is at the heart of successful short-term rental operations. This encompasses a range of practices designed to ensure guests’ safety, comfort, and satisfaction while minimizing disruptions to local communities. Key aspects include:

  • Safety Measures: Implement and maintain high safety standards to protect your guests and property. This includes regular safety inspections and compliance with all relevant health and safety regulations.
  • Clear Communication: Provide guests with clear information about your property, the local area, and any house rules. Effective communication can prevent misunderstandings and enhance the guest experience.
  • Feedback and Improvement: Encourage guest feedback and use it to continually improve your hosting practices and property offerings.

By considering these factors and adopting a proactive and responsible approach to hosting, short-term rental operators can ensure their ventures are sustainable, legally compliant, and beneficial to all stakeholders involved.

West Virginia Hosts: Help Us Stay Informed on Regulations in Your Area 

We frequently update our regulations pages as new information or updates are brought to our attention. If you know of a specific city or town in the state of West Virginia that has a regulation or law for short-term rentals, please contact us through email at so that we can add it to our website. Our regulations pages aim to help hosts in the area understand the complexities of the imposed laws and regulations.

Upgrade Your Short-Term Rental Insurance Today 

Interested in a policy to protect you and your business from liability and damage claims? Proper Insurance leads the nation in short-term rental insurance backed by Lloyd’s of London and exclusive endorsements from vacation rental leaders such as HomeAway and Vrbo.

Proper Insurance is the nation’s leading short-term rental insurance provider, protecting homes in all 50 states and replacing inadequate Homeowners/Landlord policies. Their comprehensive coverage meets or exceeds standard short-term rental requirements with $1M Commercial Liability (CGL) and unmatched protection for your property and revenue. Additional custom coverages include guest-caused theft/damage, amenity liability (bikes, kayaks, hot tub, etc.), bed bugs, fleas, squatters, and more.

Please note: The information provided is intended as a guide and may not be comprehensive or current. Regulations may change and could vary by area or situation. Always consult local authorities or a legal professional to ensure you have the most accurate information for your short-term rental property.