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Atlanta delays enforcement of new short-term rental law

  • Jun 7, 2022 | Jennifer Sokolowsky

Vacation rental operators in Atlanta, Georgia, will have more time to apply for vacation rental licenses as the city planning department has delayed enforcement of its short-term rental ordinance. Enforcement was planned to begin June 1, but was pushed back to September 6.

“We heard our residents asking to extend the enforcement deadline, and we listened. That is always the goal of the City: to make sure that voices are heard and acknowledged,” Interim City Planning Commissioner Janide Sidifall said.

The City Council passed the law in 2021. It went into effect March 1, 2022, but the city wants more time to consider its implementation.

Under the measure, hosts are required to obtain permits from the planning department and pay a $150 nonrefundable application fee. Owners and long-term tenants are limited to two permits, one for a property that’s their primary address and one for another property.

Neighbors are notified when an operator applies for a short-term rental permit, and the ordinance requires email and phone hotlines to be established for complaints involving short-term rentals.

The law holds property owners responsible for guest behavior. They’re also financially responsible for any code violations at their properties and can be fined $500 for each violation. Properties that rack up three violations will be prohibited from operating as a short-term rental for one year.

Short-term rental hosts are also responsible for collecting Atlanta’s hotel-motel tax under the new regulations. They must also collect state sales tax from their guests.

State law requires short-term rental marketplaces such as Airbnb and Vrbo to collect state sales tax automatically on behalf of Georgia hosts and pay it directly to state tax authorities. Airbnb and Vrbo also collect local sales and lodging tax in Atlanta. If taxes aren’t being collected for operators, they’re responsible for collecting and remitting them to tax authorities.

It’s estimated that nearly 7,500 vacation rentals are currently operating on Airbnb and Vrbo in Atlanta, and that more than 50% of short-term rental hosts operate more than two properties, putting them in violation of the new law. According to Airbnb, Atlanta vacation rental operators earned nearly $139 million in 2021.

Members of the Atlanta Metro Short Term Rental Alliance (AMSTRA) have threatened legal action because existing operators are not exempt from the new rules. They said they hope to work with the city to shape the terms of the ordinance before the new enforcement deadline in September.

“The middle ground for us would basically allow a lot of our members that are currently operating short term rentals to be able to continue to do so by having kind of a legacy option," said AMSTRA President Rich Monroe .

MyLodgeTax can automate and simplify short-term rental tax compliance, including registration and filing with state and local tax authorities. For more on short-term rental taxes in Georgia, see our state Vacation Rental Tax Guide. If you have tax questions related to vacation rental properties, drop us a line and we’ll get back to you with answers.

Lodging tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Avalara Author
Jennifer Sokolowsky
Avalara Author Jennifer Sokolowsky
Jennifer Sokolowsky writes about tax, legal, and tech topics. She has an extensive international background in journalism and marketing, including work with The Seattle Times, The Prague Post, Avvo, and Marriott.
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