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  • Writer's pictureKathie McClure

City of Atlanta Offers Revised Short-Term Rental Ordinance

Updated: Mar 9, 2023

On February 6th, the City of Atlanta Planning Department proposed a revision to the current Short-Term Rental (STR) Ordinance. The proposed legislation, sponsored by Councilmember Antonio Lewis, was prompted by the questionable legality of the current STR Ordinance's primary residence requirement following a recent decision by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that declared a similar requirement in New Orleans unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The current STR Ordinance in Atlanta has travelled a rocky road since it became effective in March 2021. An unduly burdensome application process and legal concerns, including the failure to acknowledge the grandfather rights of eligible STR owners, resulted in the City's repeated extensions of the ordinance's enforcement date.

The proposed revision would replace the primary residence requirement with two different types of restrictions. Single-family and two-family STRs would be subject to a 2,000-foot buffer between units. STRs in multi-family buildings would be limited by caps, called "use capacities." A 33% cap would apply to buildings with 3-12 units, and a 15% cap would apply to buildings with 13+ units.

In AMSTRA's view, the 2,000-foot buffer is excessive, impractical, and likely to impose an outsized administrative burden, and the multi-family caps merit more consideration. Particularly concerning is the City's failure to acknowledge and protect the grandfather rights of eligible STRs recognized by the Supreme Court of Georgia in Morgan County v. May.

AMSTRA looks forward to working with the City Council and the Dickens Administration to create a revised ordinance that is reasonable, practical, and enforceable and acknowledges the legal rights of units eligible for grandfather status.

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