City is considering ordinance formally authorizing short-term rentals in all residential areas

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Atlanta city takes further steps to formalize the short term rental market taking into account Ordinance Z-21-85 which would amend the city’s zoning code to formally allow short-term rentals in all areas where residential uses are permitted. The prescription would work in tandem with Order No. 20-O-1656, who established a
regulatory framework for short-term rental when it was adopted by Atlanta municipal Council March 15, 2021. This ordinance requires short-term rental owners to obtain a permit and collect a hotel-motel tax from the city. Additionally, owners are now held accountable for guest behavior, including fines of up to $ 500 for disruptive guests or code violations. Repeat offenders would have their license revoked for one year.

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The bylaw was originally scheduled to come into effect on September 1, 2021, but council voted in July to postpone implementation until March 2022. Meanwhile, other municipalities in the Atlanta area, including Savannah, Marietta and Smyrna have considered or adopted similar regulations. In addition, the Georgia State Legislature passed HB-317, a law that came into effect in July that requires short-term rental operators to pay local hotel and motel taxes and state fees.

In the ordinance currently under review, the City would formally recognize short-term rentals as a discreet land use and allow these rentals to operate in any area where residential uses are currently permitted. This would not ban short-term rentals that are currently legally operated, but it would give the City more specific regulatory tools to target short-term uses in certain areas in the future.

These ordinances all aim to reduce the negative impacts of short-term rentals on the quality of life in the neighborhood, the supply of housing and hotel taxes. For their part, short-term rental operators Airbnb and VRBO have also taken measures to reduce the negative impacts, in particular by cracking down on repeat offenders from “party houses”. Airbnb has suspended or removed 50 such listings in the Atlanta area in response to recently enacted regulations.

The Zoning Review Board (ZRB) is scheduled to hold a public hearing to review the ordinance on November 4 or 18, 2021. There is currently no indication of when city council will review the ordinance for final adoption.


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