Renting out a spare bedroom about to become more complicated, costly in Peachtree City

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Airbnb, Booking and TripAdvisor apps icon on the screen. Photo/Shutterstock.

So you’d like to get in on the AirBnB short-term rental bonanza using that spare bedroom in your Peachtree City home.

That wide open side hustle is about to get a new layer of city regulations, taxes, fees, inspections, and fines, courtesy of the Peachtree City Council.

For the second meeting in a row, the council is scheduled this coming Thursday to talk about implementing license fees, inspections with their attendent fees and a lot more regulatory boundaries for residents who want to rent out their residentially zoned properties.

Here’s how city staff set up the issue at the April 7 workshop:

“The purpose of regulation was to protect the health and safety of residents and visitors, as well as to uphold a major goal of the Comprehensive Plan, which was to preserve the residential character of the neighborhoods. The proposed ordinance covered where they would be permitted, what the owners would be required to do to protect visitors and neighbors, who could get a permit, and what was the enforcement mechanism should they fail to abide by the ordinance?”

City “staff recommended that short-term rentals be permitted in any residential zoning district, but they needed to be regulated like other home-based occupations, for which there was already an ordinance. The home needed to be the primary residence of the property owner, and that owner needed to be on-site when it was being rented. No more than 25% of the home could be used as a short-term rental. No detached structures or recreational vehicles could be used as rentals.”

Additionally, “the proposed ordinance stated that all parking must be off the street and on a paved surface. This included the residents’ cars as well as the renters’. Only bedrooms could be used as rentals. The building code defined a bedroom with a minimum size as well as emergency egress and a closet. The rentals needed to pass a Fire Marshal’s inspection. There were standards for tourist accommodations above and beyond standards for single-family homes. … They would also have to pass a Health Department inspection and a Building/Zoning inspection.”

A big deal was to prevent creation of any party houses. Staff put it this way: “No special events or parties could be held. Owners would need to post the noise ordinance Council had just adopted, as well as the parking requirements. The phone number of the contact person must be posted. Many jurisdictions required a guest register with the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all guests, along with the make model, and license plate number of their vehicles.”

There’s more: Filing with the city “scaled architectural plans of the structure,” paying “their share of the lodging tax and have an occupational tax certificate for every property.”

Wait, there’s more: “The applicant would need to pass a criminal background check which called for them to be free of felonies for five years and have two years clear of municipal convictions or nolo pleas, except for traffic violations. The City would send a letter with the local contact information to every home within 500 feet.

“Enforcement would be a three strikes, and you are out policy in a 12-month period. The first violation would be a citation and a $500 fine, while the second would be a citation and a $1,000 fine. The third strike included a citation and a $1,000 fine, and the permit and occupancy tax certificate would be revoked for 24 months. The owner and the contact could not apply for another permit elsewhere in the City for 24 months.”

Whew! After all that, you still want to get into the short-term rental business in Peachtree City?

The position of Councilman Phil Prebor was to ban any and all short-term rentals in Peachtree City residential areas. Nope, you can’t legally do that, said City Attorney Ted Meeker, who opined that “he did not think a law that restricted the use of private property would stand up in court.”

One piece of good news for potential short-term landlords was Fire Marshal Jeff Felmet’s comment that if only one room were rented out, no sprinkler system would be required for the whole house.

The discussion continues under the agenda topic “party house ordinance” at the council meeting at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall on April 21.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Party house and street parking ban seems reasonable. All the other stuff is pure government intrusion. If I have a room or house to rent out short term, so be it up to me. If the short term visitors cause problems or damages…thats the purpose of a deposit..

  2. This all seems a little much, and I guess elections do have consequences as we’ve seen by the flotilla of nanny state stuff in Peachtree City recently. Draw this out in a picture so we can actually understand it – but it just looks like you’re mostly banning rentals unless the owner wants to camp out there.

    –Ted Meeker is the legal saving grace in this town (for monetary and other reasons), but I’d still happily argue enforcing this is an undue burden to restrict the use of private property 🙂