Short-Term Rentals

What you need to know in Atlanta

The Short-Term Rental industry is complicated by patchwork regulation, dynamic inventory and variable demand. This site aims to demystify the regulatory requirements in Atlanta with up to date information and data. ATL Neighbors hopes that hosts, customers and neighbors of Short-Term Rentals (STRs) find this information useful. Like Inside Airbnb, we hope to add data to the conversation through presentations and an interactive map. In addition, we aim to provide a curated catalog of resources helpful to all who operate, purchase or reside near a Short-Term Rental.

Applicable Regulations

There are several regulations that apply to Short-Term Rentals within Atlanta city limits and Airbnb’s local regulation guidance was last updated in 2015. There have been a number of changes since that guidance was published. What follows is an abbreviated summary of newer regulation provided for your convenience and awareness; please read each ordinance in its entirety.

Party House Ban for Residential Zones

The Party House Ordinance defines the term Party House in the zoning code and generally bans them from being located within 150 feet of residentially zoned property.

Licenses are Required

The City of Atlanta Short Term Rental Ordinance1 specifies that effective March 1, 2022 a license is required to operate a Short-Term Rental in the City of Atlanta. This ordinance has a number of provisions including:

Zoning Restrictions

While the City of Atlanta Short Term Rental Ordinance appears to enable Short-Term Rentals across the city when it goes into effect, there have been rumblings that an additional zoning specific ordinance will be required for STRs to operate in residential zones. Specifically, at a Zoning Committee meeting on 28 June 2021, Commissioner Tim Keane from the Department of City Planning explained the situation:

“As you know council adopted an ordinance several months ago related to Short-Term Rental that will result in us issuing permits or certificates for Short-Term Rental in the city. What that ordinance did not do, however, was change zoning in the city to permit Short Term Rental in single-family neighborhoods.”

Moreover, Commissioner Keane went on to state that:

“Short-Term Rental in Home Park currently is illegal. In cases where we have Short-Term Rentals in Home Park we should be enforcing that and ensuring that that is not occurring… We should investigate that and require that any property in Home Park that is being used for Short-Term Rental comply.”

More information may become available at a future Zoning Committee meeting or once the City of Atlanta Short Term Rental Ordinance goes into effect.

As of 30 July 2021, the City of Atlanta Department of City Planning has sent at least one official zoning correction notice that stated:

“This letter will serve as an official zoning correction notice pursuant to City Code Sec. 16-30.001 that the subject property is not being used for a permitted principal use as set forth in City Code 16-07.003, which provides that a building in the R-5 zoning district shall be used only for, among other things, single-family detached dwellings, as that term is defined in City Code Sec. 16-29.001 (10) & (12). Upon information and/or belief, the property is being unlawfully used and offered for use as a commercial use; more specifically, a commercial short-term rental accommodation. (Airbnb, VRBO, etc.)”

“You are hereby ordered to cease and desist use of the property other than in compliance with the R-5 zoning regulations immediately at the date of issuance of this letter. Failure to comply will result in further zoning enforcement action, including but not limited to, citation(s) to appear in Atlanta Municipal Court.”

It remains to be seen if additional letters are issued or if the letters have any impact.

On 23 August 2021, Amir Farokhi introduced ordinance 21-O-06822 at the Regular Zoning Committee Meeting to create "A DEFINITION OF A 'SHORT-TERM RENTAL' AND TO ALLOW A SHORT-TERM RENTAL AS A USE IN CERTAIN ZONING DISTRICTS". In this case, "certain zoning districts" appears to mean every zoning district in Atlanta.

Short-term rental: means an accommodation where, in exchange for compensation, a residential dwelling unit is provided for lodging for a period of time not to exceed 30 consecutive days. Provided, however, that no accessory dwelling unit may be used a [sic] short-term rental.

Ordinance 21-O-0682/Z-21-85 was rejected by a majority of NPUs in October and by the Zoning Review Board in November.

Zoning Review Board members made a number of relevant observations:

This item is scheduled to be heard in Zoning Committee on November 29, 2021. It will be interesting to see how the city will balance the inherent contradiction in its current laws and proposals:

Perhaps the city will reference Schrödinger's cat as it explains this legislative paradox?

Reporting Issues

Guests

Airbnb

WikiHow provides a step by step process for customers to resolve issues with problematic rentals.

  1. Contact the host directly
  2. Contact Airbnb via the contact us page on their website
  3. Verify refund eligibility
  4. Submit a refund request

VRBO

VRBO provides instructions for emailing the company property complaints.

Neighbors

Airbnb

Airbnb provides a web page here to report issues that impact the community around an STR. They state that they can contact the host faster if you include a link to the listing in your report. You may find our reports (maps and presentations) helpful to discover Airbnb listings near you. You can also search Airbnb directly and AIRDNA is another useful resource.

VRBO

VRBO provides a web page here to report issues that impact the community around an STR. VRBO calls this the “Stay Neighborly Community Concern” form. One usability issue with this form is that the listing URL is required. You may find our reports (maps and presentations) helpful to discover VRBO listings near you. You can also search VRBO directly and AIRDNA is another useful resource.

City of Atlanta

For urgent safety issues, call 911. For code enforcement issues use the APD web page here or the ATL 311 web page here to submit a code violation. Ordinance 20-O-1656 also specifies that the “Department of Planning and Community Development shall establish and monitor a public intake portal” for citizens to submit questions or complaints; however, this portal is not yet available.

Data

ATL Neighbors makes an attempt to track and publish Short-Term Rental activity. Our dataset is not comprehensive and only goes back to March, 2021. The listing sites do not make it easy to collect information, but we do our best. The data we provide here is provided on an “as-is” basis and we cannot guarantee that it is accurate or up to date. Listings are dynamic and come and go. Therefore our data may reflect a listing that is not currently available. Data is available in presentation form organized by neighborhood and in map form.

Guests

Guests may find our data useful to discover listings and pricing information for more than one listing service in specific location of interest.

Hosts

Hosts may find our data useful to discover how their competition is pricing nearby listings. Like other community members, hosts may contact us if they would like to provide the exact location of their listing.

Neighbors

Neighbors may find our data useful to report issues with nearby Short-Term Rentals to the listing platforms or to the City of Atlanta. In either case, including a direct link to the listing may speed up the resolution of any issues.

Regulators

Regulators may find our data useful for enforcement because the current ordinances do not require STR listing platforms to provide any data or other reports to the City of Atlanta. Sadly, our data may be the best data available to regulators for enforcement.

  1. 21-O-0426 : AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND ORDINANCE 20-O-1656 SUCH THAT THE AMENDMENTS REFLECTED THEREIN SHALL BECOME EFFECTIVE ON MARCH 1, 2022 RATHER THAN ON SEPTEMBER 1, 2021. ↩︎
  2. 21-O-0682 : AN ORDINANCE BY ZONING COMMITTEE TO AMEND THE 1982 ATLANTA ZONING ORDINANCE, AS AMENDED, BY CREATING A DEFINITION OF A “SHORT-TERM RENTAL” AND TO ALLOW A SHORT-TERM RENTAL AS A USE IN CERTAIN ZONING DISTRICTS ↩︎