Residents, owners, city council members debate new Atlanta short-term rental rules

Short-term renting tenants have become problems in Atlanta communities. Some community residents are uncomfortable not knowing their neighbors; some residents use stronger language in their complaints: “short term rentals taint community.”

With what has been referred to as “an explosion of short term rental properties inside the city,” people living near these rental units are claiming that they “have grown tired of the noise.” They are asking local governments for “stricter regulation” of short-term rentals.

“With more than 10,000 short term rentals that have popped up inside the city of Atlanta,” as reported, “government officials are struggling to rewrite policies on conduct and oversight.” In response, city leaders say “it’s not that easy.”

Many Atlanta residents recently participated in a city hall hearing, in which they articulated the impacts on their lives and neighborhoods caused by these rentals. There seems to be no commitment by the short-term renters to respect their neighbors or their rented property. “The council heard complaints about loud music, overflow parking and trash left behind.”

Grievances aired by Ted Freeman, a Home Park neighbor, seemed to be representative of many if not most of the neighborhood speakers. “We have had nothing but chaos. It’s like I live in a hotel,” Freeman said, adding: “I have to meet new people all the time. It’s crazy.”

Examples of arguably abusive renter behavior include hosting “large events like birthday parties,” and showing “a marching band playing music at the same property one night,” with substantiation of the allegation supported by a video.

A contrary side of the issue was presented by property owners and property managers. As reported, these constituencies “urged council members to remember the small business opportunities that come with the business.” Technology is employed to increase renter accountability. Technology like Ring cameras, for example, are used by operator Ben Gross to assure “that what a renter puts on an application is what actually happens when they enter one of his 140 properties.” Gross sought to assure the city leaders: “We’re watching.”

Variations on rental permits are already in place. One proposal would allow “an unlimited number of rental licenses.” At the hearing, “neither side appeared satisfied.” It is unlikely the council will give the green light for the latest set of proposals.

D & B Staff

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Episode 6