By Leah Banks –
PEACHTREE CITY — In their April 7 meeting, the Peachtree City Council introduced a proposed ordinance to regulate short-term house rentals.
The issue stems from many areas in Peachtree City being impacted by the use of the short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods, according to Peachtree City Planning Director Robin Cailloux.
A short-term rental (STR) is “any home/bedroom rented to a transient person for less than 30 days at a time,” Cailloux said.
There are many STR agencies, such as Airbnb, VRBO, and Interhome that allow property owners to rent out a bedroom or home for a designated fee. These homes can be in specific neighborhoods or on standard streets.
The proposed ordinance is in light of the upcoming institution of the hotel/motel tax.
According to Georgia Mainstreet’s website, this tax states that cities in Georgia may levy and collect an excise tax of a rate of up to three percent to at a rate of five, six, seven or eight percent on charges made for rooms, lodging, or accommodations made by hotels, motels, inns, lodges, tourist camps and campgrounds.
“Last year, the state passed a law that requires these platforms to submit and collect and then remit hotel/motel taxes. That goes into effect July 1, 2022,” Cailloux said.
According to Cailloux, the purpose of the regulation of short-term rentals is to protect the health and safety of current residents and visitors and preserve the neighborhood’s residential character.
“These (STR) really need to be regulated, and there are various levels of regulations that you can do,” Cailloux said.
The staff proposed that stipulations for permitting STR in residential zoning include no detached structures or RVs, and guests are allowed no more than twenty-five percent of the rented home as an STR.
“Staff is recommending that STR be permitted in any residential zoning district. That said, we believe that they need to be regulated like we already regulate home-based occupations. We already have an ordinance, so a lot of these requirements are based on the home-based occupation limitations,” Cailloux said.
Further restrictions include that the primary owner of the residential home is present and on-site and that all parking must take place off of the street and on paved surfaces.
There is already an ordinance that prohibits the renting of a guesthouse on-site of a home, but an emphasis would be placed on this prohibition if this proposed ordinance were to be approved.
In addition, the proposed STR ordinance would include accommodation standards that require the home to pass fire marshal inspection, health department inspection and building/zoning inspection. Also, only a bedroom can be used as a guest room.
“This may seem like a no-brainer, but if you go on some of these platforms, you can see some interesting solutions that are being proposed. There are entire rooms, like rec rooms, lined up with bunk beds. That’s not appropriate,” Cailloux said.
Included in the proposed ordinance is that the guest needs to have a local contact person who is an adult. That person must be able to respond to calls 24 hours a day and be on-site within one hour.
“We are not asking that they act as police or peace officers, but when we need to get in touch with them, they need to respond,” Cailloux said.
If the ordinance were to be approved, the host would have to complete an application packet that would include a health department inspection report, fire marshal inspection report and scaled architectural plans of the structure.
In addition to these, the applicant would be required to complete a criminal background check which includes being five years felony-free and two years municipal conviction-free with the exception being traffic violations.
The enforcement of the ordinance would be on a three strike policy. The first strike would be a citation and a $500 fine. The second strike would be a citation and a $1,000 fine. The third strike would be a citation, $1,000 fine, the revoking of the permit and occupation tax for 24 months and the owner and contact cannot apply for another permit elsewhere in the city for 24 months.
The proposed ordinance will be added to the agenda for the next council meeting.