More people in Brookhaven will now be able to rent out their homes for short periods of time through Airbnb and similar services.
The City Council voted unanimously to pass an ordinance Tuesday night that tweaks the Brookhaven zoning code and allows people in all residential areas to be short-term rentals hosts through sites like Airbnb or VRBO.
Previously, only people who lived in multifamily properties or a small number of other areas could be hosts. The new ordinance leads to a substantial addition in the number of prospective hosts, since the city is mostly made up of single-family neighborhoods.
Councilman Joe Gebbia recused himself from voting, since his son is one of the co-founders of Airbnb.
Mayor John Ernst pointed out that under the old rules, “Airbnbs and short-term rentals in residential areas (were) effectively banned.”
Councilwoman Linley Jones said she was initially hesitant to support short-term rentals in Brookhaven, since it “introduces a business into a residential environment. It introduces strangers to established neighborhoods.”
But the Council added a number of restrictions to the process, which Jones supported.
People will no longer have to go through the arduous process of getting a “special land-use permit” to host through Airbnb or VRBO. Under the new ordinance, Brookhaven requires a new permit made specifically made for short-term rentals.
People must own the home they are renting, according to Brookhaven’s rules. Hosts are also subject to the city’s excise tax, and they cannot list their home for more than 180 days (about six months) per year. The council members said they added that limit to keep people from buying a house in Brookhaven for the sole purpose of listing it for short-term rentals.
The former regulations were part of a zoning code overhaul Brookhaven passed last year.
Short-term stays in a private home are a popular alternative to hotels in metro Atlanta, and they get a boost in business when Atlanta hosts large events like the Super Bowl.
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