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Short-Term Rental Conflicts Take Center Stage in Metro Atlanta

Harold Hudson on May 5th, 2019

Companies like Airbnb have made it easier than ever for property owners to earn income by renting out their homes — or rooms in their homes — to travelers. Over 1.1 million people booked rooms in Atlanta in 2018 through Airbnb, and 477,000 stayed in Fulton County. But as the practice becomes more widespread, and as Atlanta-area tourism continues to boom, short-term rental conflicts are on the rise.

Like any dispute, this one has two sides. On the one hand, property owners feel justified in renting out their homes because, after all, it’s their property. They feel that they should be free to do with it what they want.

On the other hand, neighbors of Airbnb hosts feel that they should have a voice too. Many feel that fabric of their neighborhoods are changing under their feet. When they purchased their homes they never could have predicted that they would have different neighbors every weekend — many of whom stay up late and make lots of noise.

Cities across Metro Atlanta are addressing these short-term rental conflicts in different ways.

Metro Atlanta Cities Clamping Down, Cashing in on Short-Term Rentals

Most cities in Metro Atlanta have no laws on the books concerning short-term rentals. Roswell doesn’t permit short-term rentals in any residential zones, though bed and breakfasts are permitted in the Downtown Historic Districts. Milton doesn’t allow them at all.

Brookhaven, Sandy Springs and Atlanta require property owners to get a permit or license and pay an excise tax before they start renting. Atlanta requires hosts to have both a business and hotel license.

Forsyth County commissioners, after debating the issue of short-term rentals for over two years, recently voted 3-2 to restrict short-term rentals to agriculturally zoned areas — a decision that quickly prompted a lawsuit by the Short Term Rental Owners Association of Georgia.

How to resolve short-term rental conflicts

As with most neighborly disputes, it’s often best to resolve a conflict over a short-term rental informally. If you’re the neighbor of an Airbnb host, alert them to your concerns. Try and develop some house rules for their guests that you would be comfortable with.

If informal discussions don’t yield the results you’re looking for, you can always call your local planning department or hire a land use attorney to determine whether your neighbor is allowed to use their property as a short-term rental in the first place. If it’s discovered they are not permitted to use the property as a short-term rental, you can file a complaint with your local code enforcement department or contact an attorney.

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***The article has been prepared for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.  You should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.

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