Enforcement of Atlanta’s Airbnb, VRBO regulations extended again


Credit: TNS

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Credit: TNS

Owners of vacation rentals listed on platforms like Airbnb and VRBO have a few more weeks to get a permit before they could be fined.

The Atlanta City Council voted Monday to extend the enforcement date for its new rules governing short-term rentals until June 2 amid criticism of the rollout of the new permitting process. The Department of City Planning had already pushed the enforcement date back to May 2.

Over two hours of public comment, stakeholders on both sides of the issue urged the council to either crack down further on short-term rentals or make it easier for hosts to get permits.

ExploreShort-term vacation rentals in Atlanta now need a permit to operate. Fewer than 3% have one.

The city’s new regulations went into effect March 1 after first being approved last year. It requires hosts to get a permit, but bars non-Atlanta residents from having a rental in the city. There is also a limit of only one unit in addition to the owners’ “primary residence” for those who do live in Atlanta.

Only a tiny fraction of the total short-term rental listings in Atlanta have obtained a permit, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis earlier this week found.

“What you have here is a serious problem. The failure to take action now will result in a failed regulatory process,” said Kathie McClure, the vice president of a local advocacy group.

Several short-term rental owners and property managers said the city should allow law-abiding hosts to own more than two listings and grandfather existing listings.

Some spoke out against what they described as a complicated permitting process, saying it is frustrating that owners are required to get a permit for their primary residence, even if they don’t plan to rent it out. Councilmembers have not said whether they want to tweak the rules, but officials have proposed creating a commission to hash out the issue.

How to apply for a short-term rental permit in Atlanta

Here’s what owners need to do to get a city-issued permit to rent out a unit on Airbnb or VRBO:

  • Provide a property deed or homestead exemption
  • Submit a utility bill or another document that shows your “primary residence”
  • Notify neighbors with certified mail
  • Submit a government ID and contact info for the property agent
  • Post rules in the unit
  • Fill out an online application and pay $150

Visit the Department of City Planning website for more details.

The regulations were passed last year in an effort to collect additional tax revenue, maintain a set of rules for the industry and crack down on unruly “party houses” that sparked nuisance complaints from neighbors.

Some residents continued to speak out against the short-term rental model Monday, saying the city should do more to sanction the industry, citing noise, public safety and affordability concerns. Judie Clement, who lives in a condo building downtown, told the council she is now the only full-time resident of her 10-unit floor.

“We have investors in our building who do not live there,” Clement said, referring to the owners of Airbnb listings. “They don’t see the havoc we go through on a daily basis.”

Short-term rental owners can apply for a permit or learn more about the process on the Department of City Planning’s website.

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