Unlike most other states, the State of Georgia does not define or govern short term rentals. Instead, Airbnb vacation rentals in the state are governed by their relevant city and county laws and regulations.
The state of Georgia does not have its own definition of what comprises a short term rental. This means you will rely on the definition supplied by your city/town and/or county.
Despite the lack of state-imposed laws, all short term rentals are required to pay state sales tax (4%) and a hotel-motel fee of $5 per night. Extended stays of over 30 nights however are exempt from the $5-per-night tax. Cities may impose sales and other taxes of their own. Airbnb collects and remits such taxes to the relevant department.
Most cities in Georgia have enacted their own short term rental laws and regulations. Here are the rules that govern vacation rentals in some of the top cities in Georgia.
As per the City of Columbus’ definition, a short term rental unit is an accommodation for transient guests where, in exchange for compensation, a residential dwelling unit, either the primary structure or any approved accessory dwelling is provided for lodging for a period of time not to exceed 30 consecutive days. This includes single-family and multi-family houses and cannot include a motor vehicle. To operate an Airbnb in Georgia, you have to obtain a short term rental permit and a business license. Permits must be renewed annually.
A host cannot have more than 2 guests per bedroom plus one additional occupant. Some zoning restrictions apply, including in the Historic District for non-owner-occupied properties.
The city of Columbus also imposes a hotel-motel tax of 8%.
The City of Atlanta Short Term Rental Ordinance defines a short term rental as an accommodation where, in exchange for compensation, a residential dwelling unit is provided for lodging for a period of time not exceeding 30 consecutive days.
You must obtain a short term rental license issued by the Department of City Planning, which must be renewed annually. Each person is allowed up to two licenses, but one of which must be their primary residence. Even if you don’t plan to actively rent your primary residence, you must obtain a license for it first prior to obtaining your license for the second.
The city also requires that all neighbors of the property be notified by certified mail that it will be used as a short term rental and for owners/property managers to be available at all times in case an issue arises at the Airbnb property.
Short term rentals operating in Atlanta are subject to a hotel-motel tax of 7%.
The City of South Fulton defines a short term rental as an accommodation for transient guests where, in exchange for compensation, a residential dwelling unit is provided for lodging for a period of time not exceeding 30 consecutive days. The city recognizes a residential unit to include all housing types.
Hosts must obtain a short term rental license, an occupation tax certificate, and a business license. The license expires on December 30th each year and must be renewed annually.
South Fulton also imposes a hotel-motel tax of 8%.
The City of Sandy Springs defines a short term rental unit as “any non-subsidized house, apartment, condominium, room or lodging accommodation on any property within the city that is rented to the same tenant for a period of less than 30 days”. The city permits short term rentals that are located inside or adjacent to the owner’s occupied dwelling located on the same property.
You need a permit for each unit and a city business license to operate an Airbnb vacation rental in Sandy Springs. Permits must be renewed annually, parking is only permitted on the Airbnb property itself, and neighbors must be notified of the Airbnb operations.
Apart from the sales tax, Sandy Spring imposes a hotel/motel tax of 7%.
While Georgia has no state-imposed definition or legislation of short term vacation rentals apart from taxes, they are governed by local laws and regulations. Local regulations are clear and not too extensive however, making it easier on Airbnb, Vrbo, and other vacation rental hosts.