Airbnb Rules in Georgia

Airbnb Rules in Georgia

When you consider how easy it is to find Airbnb regulation in other states, short-term rental regulations in Georgia can be hard to find and understand. However, as a property manager it is absolutely necessary to know and understand the regulations prior to running an Airbnb to scale your business.

Georgia Laws Related To Short-Term Rentals

There are no current state laws or regulations in effect regarding short-term rentals. However, 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 the 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 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 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.

Now let's take a look at how regulations work in different cities within Georgia.

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 before obtaining a permit. Additionally below are the basic requirements for running an Airbnb:

  • $200 application fee
  • Apply for a short term rental license
  • Obtain an occupation tax certificate
  • Apply for a business license, which must be included in any advertisement of the property
  • All units will be inspected by the county to ensure the property complies with building and fire safety 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

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 Short Term Vacation Rentals; but 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 to carry out business.

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 no current laws are 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

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 a 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.

Other requirements include:

  1. Owners should apply for a Short Term Vacation Rental Certificate (STVR)
  2. 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 for owners to sign up for.
  3. 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.
  4. Owners must report a change in rental agent within five business days
  5. Examples of short-term rental agreements must be provided with the application to rent the STVR, as well as posted in the property at all times.
  6. Advertising - The STVR certificate number and the Exemplar Rental Agreement must be included in any advertising of the STVR, in print or digital form.
  7. Proof of insurance needs to be shown.

Latest Developments To Vacation Rental Regulations In Georgia

Airbnb tax signed into law in Georgia by Gov. Kemp

Short-term home rental companies, such as Airbnb and VRBO, will have to pay hotel taxes under a bill Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law. The law makes home rental companies collect Georgia’s $5-per-night lodging tax and local excise taxes, which can reach 8%. The costs will be passed on to renters on their bills.

The measure, which Kemp signed last week, is the latest effort to tax online companies that do business in Georgia, building on laws passed in recent years that tax Uber, Amazon and other internet retailers.

Traditional hotels, taxis and retailers supported taxing their internet competitors, and local governments sought the revenue that the taxes will generate. The lodging tax is projected to raise $17 million for the state in fiscal 2022, according to a fiscal note produced by the state auditor. Local governments could receive a combined $20 million to $30 million annually from hotel excise taxes, according to the Association County Commissioners of Georgia.

Extended-stay rentals, which last more than 30 days, are exempt from the $5-per-night lodging tax.

New Atlanta law requires short-term rental hosts to get permits, collect hotel-motel tax

Short-term rental hosts in Atlanta, Georgia, will be required to obtain permits under a new law approved by the City Council. Property owners will also be held responsible for guests’ behavior, fined when guests disrupt neighborhoods, and obligated to collect city hotel-motel tax.

Under the new ordinance, which goes into effect September 1, 2021, hosts must get permits from the Department of Planning and Community Development and pay a $150 non-refundable application fee. Owners and long-term tenants are eligible to get two permits total — one for a property that’s their primary address and one for another property.

The law also requires hosts to use their “best efforts to assure that use of the premises by short-term rental occupants will not disrupt the neighborhood, and will not interfere with the rights of neighboring property owners to the quiet enjoyment of their properties."

Owners will be financially responsible for any code violations at their properties and fined $500 for each violation. Properties that rack up three violations will be prohibited from operating as a short-term rental for one year.

The new law doesn’t address whether short-term rentals will be allowed in areas zoned for single-family homes, but the city is expected to address vacation rental zoning issues before the new permit system goes online.

The law also mandates the creation of email and phone hotlines for complaints involving short-term rentals. When a property applies for a short-term rental permit, neighbors will be notified.Short-term rental hosts are also responsible for collecting Atlanta’s hotel-motel tax under the new regulations. They must also collect state sales tax from their guests.

State law requires short-term rental marketplaces such as Vrbo and Airbnb to collect state sales tax automatically on behalf of Georgia hosts and pay it directly to the state. Vrbo and Airbnb also collect local sales tax in Atlanta. However, Vrbo and Airbnb don’t collect Atlanta’s hotel-motel tax on behalf of their hosts. Atlanta hosts are responsible for registering with the city, collecting the hotel-motel tax from guests, and paying the tax monthly.

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