Proposed Legislation for AirBnB, VRBO, & Short-Term Rentals

14 Oct 2020 6:30 PM | Anonymous

The City of Atlanta has proposed Short-Term Rental legislation that would make AirBnB, VRBO, and other short-term rentals (less than 31 days) illegal for single-family zoning districts across all Atlanta neighborhoods. Current AirBnBs will not be grandfathered. 

We'll be discussing this in more detail at the PHCA Board Meeting on Tuesday, October 6. Please join us! You can also contact us to share your comments with the Board.

The item will also be discussed one level up at our Neighborhood Planning Unit monthly meeting on October 19 and again for a vote at the November 16 NPU-F meeting. 

Additionally, you can send your comments to Councilmember Ide and the authors of the legislation.

Update after the October PHCA Board Meeting:

During our Board meeting, this proposed legislation was discussed by PHCA board members as well as other residents, including one rental property owner in the neighborhood.

Everyone agreed that while some short-term rental properties (and long-term rental properties as well) can pose problems, this legislation is not the right approach to prevent those problems. A few points to the discussion included:

  • This legislation would be a heavy handed approach that would be difficult to enforce and most likely would not solve the issues
  • Existing homeowners who have invested in their rental properties and who are doing a great job would be punished and their investment put at a severe disadvantage
  • Existing laws are in place around excessive noise, drug use, etc. in which concerned residents should call 911 if they witness illegal activities, whether it's next door at a short-term rental, long-term rental, or a homeowner living in their own home. 
  • An unintended consequence to the legislation may prevent homeowners from renting their homes short-term for photo shoots or to the film industry for movies, etc. 
  • Below, please see additional questions and comments we explored during our discussion on October 6.

The PHCA Board does not stand behind this proposed legislation and will take that approach at the NPU-F meeting on October 19. Please feel free to voice your opinion at the upcoming NPU-F meeting. They have a method for registering ahead of time for any matters needing a vote: https://forms.gle/moPP6MysYYqRhiAA9

We would be happy to hear from additional residents regarding this issue as we constantly strive for a better, safer neighborhood with laws and legislation that make our community more enjoyable for its residents.

  • How many short-term rentals are in the zones to be excluded right now?
  • How many complaints have been made?
  • Which current short-term rentals were complaints made against?
  • How many repeat complaints have been made?
  • On which short-term-rentals?
  • Who owns and manages those lodgings on which complaints (particularly repeat complaints) have been made?
  • What action has been taken on those complaints?
  • What other solutions are possible?
  • What punishment/deterrent is currently available?
  • What enforcement/penalties are available for this legislation? (since none is referred to in this legislation)
  • What are the tax implications of removing a large number of income producing short-term rentals from the City?
  • How much tax income is the City and/or state likely to lose?
  • Politicians at all levels of government, seem to think legislation solves problems. That is not necessarily true if those laws are not evenly enforced. People solve problems, especially people working together toward a common goal.
  • It seems the legislation is aimed at getting rid of these so called “Buckhead Mansion Parties”. If the parties are the problem, the scope of the ordinance should be narrowed to focus on just that.
  • One (perhaps unintended) consequence is that this ordinance would outlaw renting private homes for films, commercials, and photo shoots.
  • Rather than punishing violators under current ordinances, this adds new, possibly unenforceable laws.
  • The proposed legislation punishes a large number of law-abiding citizens who own the many short-term rentals that have not created problems, by depriving them of potential income.
  • As a Board, we do not think this legislation is appropriate. We feel more vigorous enforcement of current ordinances and stricter penalties for offenders, particularly repeat offenders is more appropriate. If that doesn't work, then more targeted legislation should be considered. For example, noise ordinances could be amplified and vigorously enforced. That might mean better enforcement of violations by the "clubs" which are even larger public nuisances and public safety concerns.

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