As part of our Host Standards, we expect that Hipcamp Hosts adhere to all regulations that apply to their hosting activity. If your land is part of a land trust or homeowners’ association, you may need to ask permission from or notify certain people or organizations in your area.
As you start hosting, take time to familiarize yourself with regulations related to your hosting activity. These regulations can include state, county, province, and/or municipality. These regulations can vary depending on a few factors:
- Where you live: every state, county, council, province, municipality, and city has different regulations that may apply to your hosting activity. If you live within city limits, follow municipal regulations. If you live in an unincorporated area of your county, follow county regulations.
- How you host: the type of overnight accommodation you offer will influence which regulations you should adhere to. For example, the regulations for hosting tent campers may be different from the regulations for hosting guests who visit in an RV. Regulations for staying in a cabin or small farmhouse on your property may be different from tent camping and RV regulations.
- How your land is zoned: as you may be aware, how your land is zoned affects what you can do on your property. Your zoning can also affect what permits you need to obtain to pursue certain activities on your property, including welcoming overnight guests through platforms like Hipcamp.
Do your research
It’s important that you do your research to ensure your hosting activity is compliant. Follow these steps to learn about regulations that may apply to your hosting activity:
- Understand how your property is zoned: If you’re not already familiar, look up how your property is zoned. Depending on where you live, you may be able to do this online. In the U.S., searching online for “zoning map in Carroll County, Maryland” shows that the county has an interactive GIS map. Locate your property on your county or city’s zoning map to try to figure out how it is zoned. If your local government doesn’t have an online map, call your county or municipality's land use, planning, or zoning department to ask how your property is zoned.
- Understand restrictions for your zoning district: The land-use code for your area likely includes zoning regulations. Most local governments post these codes online. Read the zoning regulations for the zoning district that applies to your property. The zoning regulations will describe the allowable uses for properties like yours. They will also describe what permits, if any, are required for certain types of activities, including some activities that may relate to hosting overnight guests. Search the online zoning code for restrictions that may apply to your hosting activity, such as “camping”, “recreational vehicle”, “short-term rental”, “agritourism”, or “vacation rental”. If you have questions about the restrictions in your zoning district, call your county land use, planning, or zoning department. You may prefer to hire a local land use attorney who can give you confidential advice.
- Reach out to your local elected officials: Every city and county has a board of locally-elected officials whose responsibilities include supporting community members in navigating local laws and creating laws that benefit constituents. Reach out to your city councilors, board of commissioners, or other local elected officials who represent you by phone, email, or by attending a public meeting to ask for help navigating local laws regarding Hipcamp hosting. If laws are unclear or make hosting difficult, consider expressing to them that you would like them to make hosting more of an option for local landowners. See our Advocacy Tips below to learn more about working with your local government.
We’re here to help
Regulations that could apply to your hosting activity were likely written decades ago, and may not take into account platforms like Hipcamp. It can be confusing to determine how your local government considers Hipcamp – we’re here to help!
- Read more about Hipcamp's Host Standards here
- Download our Advocacy Tips Summary below for a few key notes on working with your local government
- Download and review our in-depth guide to understanding local regulations and advocating for change linked below
- Download our factsheet below for information you can share with local stakeholders, community members, and lawmakers
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have additional questions