ATLANTA — Many people who rely on the money from having a few short-term rentals in Atlanta told city council members Monday that the red tape makes it hard for them to stay afloat. Now more changes could come to the ordinance, which is fairly new but is still not being enforced.
The short-term rental ordinance took effect nearly a year ago, but the city is not enforcing it yet because of legal questions. Those who host short-term rentals say excessive fees and taxes in the ordinance hurt their ability to make money. Hosts must live in Atlanta, pay $150 a year for a permit, and pay an 8% tax rental fee.
Kathie McClure has lived in Atlanta all of her life. She relies on the money from her two short-term rentals in Piedmont Heights.
“We've operated them since 2016," McClure said.
McClure took her concerns with the new language in the already-passed ordinance to Atlanta City Council members.
“Aspects of the proposed revision are excessive, complicated and impractical," McClure said.
Some of the changes would include needing a license for each property, and every short-term rental in a single-family home or duplex would need to be at least 2,000 feet apart.
“On my street, I’ve got three of them already, so the legislation we’re putting together would make it so there’s an Airbnb like every five streets," Councilman Antonio Lewis said.
“A revision is sorely needed to avoid the legal and administrative stumbles, including a burdensome and overly complicated application process," McClure added.
Others who spoke out at the meeting are afraid the proposed changes could put mom-and-pop short-term rental hosts out of business.
"Atlanta is not a good city if you can't afford to live here. I've retired and I do depend on some income from my Airbnb being that I operate out of my own home that I live in," Stephanie Saxton said.
"I know that there have been instances where parties or corporations are coming in, but this is not the case for the local homeowner," Phillip Boykin added.
11Alive has previously reported that 54% of short-term rental owners in Atlanta have more than two listings, putting them in violation – under the ordinance. Enforcement of the original ordinance is set to begin on March 5.
An Atlanta City Council spokesperson said the proposed changes to the ordinance have been put on hold for it to go back to the committee next week.