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City of South Fulton implements new rules on 'pad split' rentals

A pad split works sort of like an Airbnb but for a longer stay. You go online and rent a room at someone's house a week at a time, typically for around $150 a week.

SOUTH FULTON, Ga. — So-called cheap rent with a caveat is making some people who live in South Fulton furious. They're known as pad splits, and now city leaders are taking action. 

A pad split works sort of like an Airbnb but for a longer stay. You go online and rent a room at someone's house a week at a time, typically for around $150 a week. You'll have your own room, but you'll share common areas with other people using the service.

The issue in one South Fulton neighborhood is that the houses are meant to be single-family homes. 

“It’s really a bloody mess," HOA president Marcia Clemendor said.

Clemendor said the reason for concern in the neighborhood is due to a pad split. 

“The residents are really upset because it’s devalued their property," Clemendor said. "Since the split pads have like 10 rooms to them, the cars, there’s quite a bit of cars. They’re parking on the grass, they’re parking on the side, they’re parking on the street.”

Trash and noise are other issues, according to Clemendor.

“The garbage... stays out there 24/7," Clemendor said. "Rats start taking up the place and start running into other people’s driveways. It’s just totally unsanitary. It’s a major problem.”

“This type of practice is done under the auspice of affordable housing, and there is a need, but it should not be done in a traditional residential community," City of South Fulton Councilwoman Helen Z. Willis said.

Willis said a home along Towanda Drive got approved as a single-family, four-bedroom home, but code enforcement found something very different when they arrived. 

“When the inspection was done, that’s when it was found this was actually a 10-bedroom house. The rooms were turned into individual rooms and operating as a boarding house," Willis said.

This caused the City of South Fulton council to put new restrictions in place for pad splits, including requiring them to be located near other multi-family units, obtaining a permit and business license, and having random inspections. 

“You don’t know who they are, and because it’s transient, you have no idea what kind of people are coming and going," Clemendor said. 

The HOA president said two other pad splits within a few miles of the Towanda Drive location are causing similar issues.

PadSplit sent 11Alive this statement:

"PadSplit is a Public Benefit Corporation that was created to help solve the affordable housing shortage for frontline workers. We believe the workers who serve our communities also deserve an opportunity to live in them. We are a marketplace where owners are able to list bedrooms on our platform that include utilities, furniture, wifi, and we even include credit-reporting for ontime payments and even access to telemedicine at no additional cost.  On average residents pay less than $700/month for all these services, and we've been thrilled to see many of our residents go on to get their own apartments, start businesses, or even purchase their own homes to build generational wealth.  

We all know that there is a severe shortage of housing in the Atlanta area and around the country.  We also know that current traditional housing options are insufficient to meet the need and too expensive to access. PadSplit creates housing supply and provides access for people in need of more housing choices by using the empty space that already exists. The current housing need in metro Atlanta could be met with a small fraction of the existing residential square footage.  We look forward to working with the City of South Fulton or any other local municipalities who are interested in ensuring that the workers who serve their communities also have an opportunity to live there." 

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