Georgia Guide to Short-Term Rental Regulations

Disclaimer

Short-term rental regulations are in a constant state of change. The below resource is updated when possible, but it should not be taken as legal advice. It is critical that you consult with your local lawyer to ensure you are taking the necessary steps to keep your business safe and legal.

Introduction

Short-term rental regulations in Georgia can be hard to find and understand. Below is a comprehensive look at the proposed or legislated rules in Georgia for short-term rentals to help property managers and vacation rental owners better run and ultimately scale their businesses.

Georgia Laws Related to Short-Term Rentals

There are no current state laws or regulation in effect regarding short-term rentals. All short term rental regulations happen on a local government level. There is much debate circling the short term rental industry in the state of Georgia. Between concerned homeowners and local governments navigating their way through the “boom” of short term rentals through channels like Airbnb and Vrbo. Local governments were pressured to act to regulate misuse of rentals and abide by building and fire safety codes. Local governments have been enacting short term rental regulations across the state with more cities passing regulations with each month.

Proposed Legislation for Short-Term Rentals in Georgia

House Bill 523 was introduced in early March 2019 which moves to restrict local government from regulating short term rentals. The bill has not yet been approved as of the creation date of this research project.

Cities in Georgia with Short-Term Rental Regulations

Cobb

Brookhaven officials recently overturned a short term rental ban placed last fall, citing they were not able to regulate short term rentals at the time. Homeowners can now apply for a permit to engage in STVR, there are special land use requirements, zoning requirements and a 180-day cap annually. Owners and hosts entering this market should pay close attention to compliance and work directly with their Community Development Department as permits will not be reissued annually if you are in violation twice in a single year.

South Fulton

South Fulton recently began regulating the short term rental industry. There are several steps to obtain your permit to legally rent a home in this area and the unit must be inspected for safety prior to obtaining a permit.

  • $200 application fee
  • Apply for a short term rental license
  • Obtain an occupation tax certificate
  • Apply for a business license. This license number must be included in any advertisement of the property.
  • All units will be inspected by the county to ensure the property is in compliance with building and fire codes prior to the release of a rental license.
  • City noise ordinance must be posted in the unit and visible at all times.
  • Parking must be available on the same lot of the short term rental.

Brookhaven

Brookhaven officials recently overturned a short term rental ban placed last fall, citing they were not able to regulate short term rentals at the time. Homeowners can now apply for a permit to engage in STVR, there are special land use requirements, zoning requirements and a 180-day cap annually. Owners and hosts entering this market should pay close attention to compliance and work directly with their Community Development Department as permits will not be reissued annually if you are in violation twice in a single year.

Macon

Macon allows short term rentals with the proper registrations in place. -File for a business license and register as a Short Term Vacation Rental (STVR). -File for an STVR permit. The registration process is free. The permits expire annually on December 31st and you must renew accordingly. You will need the following to complete the application:

Atlanta

Atlanta is one of many cities considering enacting short term rental rules. Short term rental regulation presents much controversy in this area as there have been many reports of misuse in rentals. Atlanta officials state Short term rentals are banned in single-family residential areas; however, enforcement is an issue as there are no current laws permitting them on record to date. Officials are currently analyzing whether to ban them or turn a profit by regulating and taxing, as well as requiring a permit/license to operate a STVR.

Savannah

Savannah allows short term rentals, although there are several zoning ordinances in place and owners should research their individual requirements based on the district and ward their property is located in. The latest ordinance passed in 2017, established a certification process, a 20% ward cap (which limits the number of approved vacation rentals to 20% of the parcels in a ward in residential zoning districts) and method for taxing and licensing the rentals. A short-term vacation rental is defined as the rental of an entire dwelling unit for 30 days or less in exchange for money. Owners and hosts entering this market should pay close attention to compliance and work directly with their Community Development Department.

  • Owners should apply for a Short Term Vacation Rental Certificate (STVR)
  • Owners will need to make sure the ward their property is located in is not full, there are currently only 6 wards that are not full. There are waiting lists owners can sign up for.
  • STVR are occupancy restricted, no more than 2 adults per bedroom and the local government does have the authority to inspect to ensure a STVR is in compliance.
  • Owners must report a change in rental agent within five business days.
  • Exemplar Rental Agreements must be provided with the application to rent the STVR, as well as posted in the property at all times.
  • Advertising - The STVR certificate number and the Exemplar Rental Agreement must be included in any advertising of the STVR, in print or digitally.
  • Proof of insurance

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