Atlanta’s short-term rental regulation enforcement delayed a third time after lawsuit threat
By John Ruch
The City of Atlanta has quietly delayed enforcement of its new short-term rentals regulation for a third time following a lawsuit threat from an industry group.
Enforcement is now scheduled to begin Dec. 5, according to the Department of City Planning, which appears to have announced the change only in a small update to the registration website. The regulation, which requires registration and licensing, took effect March 1 and enforcement was supposed to begin April 1. But the City then repeatedly announced further enforcement delays: first to June 1, then Sept. 6.
The delays followed complaints from the Atlanta Metro Short Term Rental Alliance (AMSTRA), a group of short-term rental owners and operators, that the application process is “unnecessarily burdensome” and that a lack of grandfathering for existing multi-property operators violates a recent Supreme Court of Georgia decision.
Asked the reason for the latest delay, City Planning spokesperson Paula Owens repeated a line from a press release about the previous delay, which says, “It was determined that the implementation of this ordinance may require further consideration.”
AMSTRA Vice President Kathie McClure said her group was aware of the delay and that its talks with the City continue.
“AMSTRA is still engaged in negotiation with the city on behalf of its members concerning grandfathered rights… under well-established Georgia law, and other issues [and] concerns that we have regarding the City’s interpretation of the ordinance and the burdensome application process,” said McClure. “So we’re pleased negotiations are continuing and we’re hopeful that we’ll be successful.”
It is unclear whether the City has agreed to any changes in the regulation at this point. Owens referred that question to the City press office, which did not immediately respond. McClure said she would keep the content of the negotiations confidential at this point.
McClure said that negotiation meetings were difficult to arrange over the summer and that she is hopeful the delay to December is enough time to finish. “It’ll take whatever time it takes,” she said. “These things take on a life of their own, and it’s hard to predict when and if [they finish].”
A recent SaportaReview of metro Atlanta listings on Airbnb, the short-term rental market leader, indicated challenges with a lack of data for policy-making and difficulty in enforcing local regulations.
Update: This story has been updated with comment from AMSTRA.