City Considering Ordinance Formally Permitting Short-Term Rentals in all Residential Districts

The ordinance would formally allow short-term rentals in all residential zones provided they follow new regulations
The infamous party mansion in Buckhead. Image: Google Earth
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The City of Atlanta is taking further steps to formalize the short-term rental market with the consideration of Ordinance Z-21-85 which would amend the City Zoning Code to formally allow short-term rentals in all zones where residential uses are allowed. The ordinance would work in tandem with Ordinance No. 20-O-1656, which established a
regulatory framework for short-term rentals when it was adopted by Atlanta City Council on March 15th, 2021. That ordinance requires owners of short-term rentals to obtain a permit and collect a city hotel-motel tax. In addition, owners are now held responsible for guests’ behavior including facing up to $500 fines for disruptive guests or code violations. Repeat offenders would have their permit revoked for a year.

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The regulations had originally been slated to go into effect on September 1st, 2021, however the Council voted in July to delay the implementation until March of 2022. In the meantime, other Atlanta area municipalities including Savannah, Marietta and Smyrna have considered or passed similar regulations. In addition, the Georgia State Legislature passed HB-317, a law that went into effect in July that requires short-term rental operators to pay local hotel-motel taxes and state fees.

In the ordinance currently under consideration, the City would formally recognizes short-term rentals as a discreet land use, and allows such rentals to operate in any zone where residential uses are currently permitted. This would not outlaw any short-term rental currently operating legally, but it would give the City more precise regulatory tools to single-out short-term uses in certain zones in the future.

These ordinances are all in an effort to reduce the negative impacts short-term rentals have had on neighborhood’s quality of life, the housing supply and hotel taxes. For there part, short-term rental operators Airbnb and VRBO have also taken steps to reduce negative impacts including cracking down on “party house” repeat offenders. Airbnb has suspended or removed 50 such listings in the Atlanta area in response to the recently enacted regulations.

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

Daniel Alvarado

Daniel Alvarado

Daniel Alvarado is an AICP Certified Urban Planner, transportation advocate, researcher and writer originally from San Antonio, Texas. He received his Master's Degree in Community and Regional Planning from the University of Texas at Austin, where his research focused on the intersection of green infrastructure and transportation. Daniel has been published by Decipher City, Progrss.org, and has contributed to dozens of comprehensive and transportation plans across the country.
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ATL Neighbor
16 days ago

Has anyone from the city commented on what impacts this STR zoning change and the CDP changes will have on communities? It seems likely the city will end up with dense mini hotel complexes like 15 STANDISH AVE NW (across from Amtrak) where there are 12 Liveable Units and there are 12 STR listings. The data indicates that there are more than 10,000 STRs in the City of Atlanta, which suggests that the city has been ineffective at regulating this activity. Another indicator that the City of Atlanta will be ineffective in regulating STRs comes from Mountain View, California where… Read more »

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