Atlanta short-term rental licensing begins; enforcement starts April 1
By John Ruch
If you’re listing an Atlanta home as a short-term rental, it’s time to make it legal. A new licensing requirement took effect on March 1 and inspectors will start enforcement on April 1.
The licensing requirement was approved a year ago by the City Council in the wake of controversies surrounding the effect of short-term rentals on quality of life issues and the housing market. Made famous by such companies as Airbnb, short-term rentals are defined as those lasting 30 consecutive days or less.
The City allows an owner or long-term tenant to obtain a short-term license for up to two separate properties, one of which must be their primary residence. The license is good for 12 months and has a $150 annual fee.
The City says that processing an application can take up to 10 business days, so operators should apply quickly.
The license comes with various requirements and restrictions. The maximum occupancy is two adults per bedroom. Adjacent property owners must be formally notified of the home’s use as a short-term rental. The owner or long-term tenant in charge must pay the 8 percent hotel-motel tax on the rentals.
Code violations at the short-term rental, such as excessive noise, can result in fines and a bar on licensing. The ordinance provides for $500 fines for code violations. If a short-term rental property has three or more code violations within 12 months, the City will revoke the license and bar further applications for another 12 months. Operating without a license comes with fines as well.
Enforcement will be conducted by the Atlanta Police Department’s Code Enforcement division on licensed properties and by Department of City Planning zoning inspectors for unlicensed properties.
The City has created a short-term rental website with full details about the ordinance and the licensing process.
An interactive map on the website for checking the licensing status of properties is not working yet, with the City saying that should come in mid-April. In the meantime, the City says the licenses will be reported in its online permitting database via the “Search Permits/Complaints” section.