Sandy Springs cracks down on short-term rentals, will enforce hotel tax

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SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. — Residents of Sandy Springs wanting to cash in on a growing property trend will have some new rules to follow – and taxes to pay.

The city announced on Wednesday that its city council has voted to amend city codes to further regulate short-term rentals – the common term for properties rented for less than 30 days.

The practice has become extremely popular across the country as a means of making extra cash for many with an extra room or creative space. But it’s also meant a new headache for municipalities working to ensure the locations are actually up to required standards.

“The short-term rental market is exploding,” Mayor Rusty Paul said. “While we want to be supportive of the industry, we have an obligation to protect the residential character of our neighborhoods, as well as ensure that we implement fair and equitable application of business practices, including administration of hotel and motel taxes, which apply to this type of rental.”

That will mean new code enforcement to make sure that the properties are safe to inhabit, a business license issued by the city, various inspections and prompt payment of all applicable hotel taxes and license fees.

Various items such as owner and city call center contact information must also be made available to the renter. Meanwhile, getting into the business now comes with a bit more red tape.

For one, residents of subsidized housing are not allowed to offer short-term rentals. Also, anyone planning to start up a short-term rental will be required to notify residents and property owners within 500 feet of that intent. The renting property owner must also provide them with contact information in case there is a problem.

The city added that an estimated 211 properties were being used as short-term rentals within the city limits according to November 2017 statistics provided by Airbnb – a popular site for finding these types of properties.

The amendment will take effect on May 1.

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