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Atlanta’s Airbnb and Short Term Rental Laws

Atlanta’s Airbnb and Short Term Rental Laws

Are you looking for the next investment worth your attention? Short-term rentals and Airbnbs have generated increasing revenue since 2017 (with an understandable break in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic). As such, an Airbnb property in a tourist-friendly city appeals to investors worldwide. If this is something you’re curious about, you may be looking at potential cities that boast plenty of appealing activities that draw millions of visitors every year. In that case, Atlanta may be an Airbnb-friendly city worth looking at.

The Metro-Atlanta area offers something for everyone, from foodies to sports fans, music lovers to movie buffs, and beyond. With its thriving TV and movie-production industry, its diverse array of tourist attractions, and venues like the Fox Theatre, Truist Park, and Mercedes-Benz Stadium (which will host the FIFA World Cup in 2026), the city will consistently be welcoming short-term visitors for years to come. Add to that the already booming stream of university students and the world’s busiest airport, and you have a recipe for Airbnb success.

Ideal Areas in Atlanta for Your Airbnb

Choosing the ideal spot in the metro area for your investment will make a huge difference when it comes to the types of guests you want, how much you want to charge per night, and, of course, how much you want to pay for your property. Let’s look at some hot spots your potential guests might want to visit in the city and review the relevant short-term rental laws in each of them.

Atlanta

With a reputation as both the New York and Hollywood of the South, it's no surprise the City of Atlanta has a plethora of things to do and sites to see. Whether they're shopping in Atlanta's affluent Buckhead neighborhood, visiting the country's largest aquarium or the World of Coca-Cola in Midtown, or enjoying a great mix of residential and nightlife in Old Fourth Ward and Inman Park, Atlanta's visitors can find plenty to do within a short drive or utilizing Atlanta's pedestrian highway, the Beltline.

Atlanta also boasts numerous festivals and conventions, such as DragonCon, the Dogwood Festival, and music festivals in the heart of the city like Music Midtown and Shaky Knees. These events draw thousands of people into the city at different times of the year, it goes without saying short-term rentals within a walking distance of these events are a hot commodity. Not to mention the numerous colleges and universities within the city and immediately surrounding area attracting countless families and school visitors year-round.

Short-term rental laws in Atlanta

There are no statewide Airbnb regulations in Georgia yet, but Atlanta has an ordinance governing short-term rentals. To have a short-term rental property in Atlanta that functions according to code, you must own two properties in the city. You'll need to register one of these properties as your primary residence — even if you plan on putting both up for rent. There are a few other regulations and requirements, but the educational material makes the process simple.

Since 2022, short-term rental laws in Atlanta have allowed people to apply for licenses online without a deadline as long as they’re eligible. The process now allows residents to rent or allow their tenant to rent their primary residence to short-term visitors, which they’re calling “home sharing.”

How to find out if you’re eligible and apply

Atlanta has a large knowledge base for those interested in applying for a home-sharing license. You can find out whether you’re eligible and apply, all in a few steps.

Decatur

Just a hop, skip, and a jump from the city limits, Decatur’s short-term rentals attract visitors to the same attractions as Atlanta, but features a more laid-back, small-town atmosphere. Offering a mix of suburban life and city feel, Decatur has plenty of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks nearby to keep visitors entertained. Plus, there are fewer hoops homeowners are required to jump through to turn their home into a short-term rental.

When listing the pros of a Decatur property, the city’s quick access to downtown shouldn’t be the only factor under consideration. With a rich culinary scene, it’s no surprise that many of the restaurants in Michelin’s Atlanta Guide are actually located in Decatur’s compact downtown area. Besides food, there is plenty of drink as well: Decatur boasts a number of breweries and local distilleries that are favorites amongst Atlanta residents. The area offers museums and history, proximity to Stone Mountain, which features miles of trails and the world’s largest piece of exposed granite, as well as the Decatur Book Festival which draws thousands of visitors each fall.

For short-term rental owners, however, the number of hospitals nearby is the biggest factor as to why Decatur should be a top consideration. With four major hospitals in and around Decatur, the area is already a popular short-term rental spot for traveling nurses, who travel at all times of the year and often stay for several weeks at a time.

Short-term rental laws in Decatur

Decatur is in Dekalb County, which currently has no laws on short-term rentals. That means that Airbnbs and short-term rentals are currently permitted and there aren't many hoops for property owners to jump through. The County Board of Commissioners has proposed an ordinance that would create licensing and an excise tax for short-term rentals in Dekalb. The ordinance has yet to be approved but does give prospective owners an idea of what to expect if they purchase to rent in the area.

Sandy Springs

Sandy Springs is a family-friendly option for visitors looking to stay in Atlanta. Like Decatur, it is close to the city and boasts high-quality restaurants for guests to enjoy, in addition to plenty of green space and easy access to other parts of the metro area. Sandy Springs is a great option for people catching a show at Cadence Bank Amphitheatre at Chastain Park, visiting loved ones in the broader suburban area or at nearby Northside Hospital, or visiting Buckhead, Atlanta’s financial district, for work or play.

Short-term rental laws in Sandy Springs

Sandy Springs is (mostly) in Fulton County, so it doesn’t have county-wide regulations; however, it does have some city-specific ones. In Sandy Springs, short-term rentals abide by the same tax requirements as hotels. This means owners are responsible for collecting taxes upon payment and submitting them to the city. Additionally, the property has to be located inside or adjacent to the owner's residential property, which throws a bit of a curveball for property owners. You can find more information here.

Marietta

Marietta is the 35th best place to live in the United States for families looking for culture and community. It's also a great place to visit that offers something for just about everyone. The thriving Marietta Square with plenty of places to eat and shops at, proximity to Civil War battle site Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park with surrounding hiking trails, and easy access to the Battery and Atlanta are all reasons Georgians and visitors alike love to stay in Marietta. If you want to cater your short-term rental property to guests wanting a more family-oriented visit, Marietta could be an ideal place to invest.

Short-term rental laws in Marietta

To have a short-term rental in Marietta, which is located in Cobb County, you’ll have to meet the following requirements.

  • The property must be zoned residential
  • You must have a separate short-term rental certificate from the business license division for each property that’s being rented
  • A change of owner requires updating a property's rental certificate

You can find the county’s full requirements and FAQs here.

Vinings

Popular among Atlanta residents who want to feel closer to suburban life, Vinings will offer your guests a residential community feel during their big-city visit. Equipped with a town square, high-end boutique shopping, great restaurants, older neighborhoods to drive through, and more, Vinings has a large array of attractions for your short-term rental guests, and plenty of greenery to spread out in and explore.

Close to major attractions like the Battery with Truist Park Stadium and the Roxy Theater, and both Six Flags Over Georgia amusement park and Six Flags White Water water park, Vinings is a happy median for guests wanting proximity to the city, while having plenty to do nearby.

Additionally, many of Atlanta’s top industries have headquarters in the Vinings and Marietta areas, giving short-term rental owners plenty of opportunities to attract people traveling for work, and more.

Short-term rental laws in Vinigns

Vinings doesn’t have its own separate regulations on short-term rentals at the moment. Like Marietta, Vinings is located in Cobb County, which means that the laws referenced above also apply to short-term rentals in Vinings. The full requirements for short-term rentals in Cobb County, along with answers to common questions, are available here.

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Protect Your Atlanta Airbnb With a Home Warranty Plan

The greater Atlanta area is a vibrant and promising option for investors in the short-term rental and Airbnb market. It has all the elements necessary to get tourists in and out all year long, a landlord’s dream. With its diverse range of attractions and universities, from the mixed-use development in The Battery to events at the Mercedes-Benz stadium, the city provides opportunities to attract a wide array of visitors. Moreover, evolving laws, such as the ability to apply for licenses online since 2022, make the process more accessible for property owners.

Exploring specific areas like Decatur, Sandy Springs, Marietta, and Vinings reveals additional options, each with its unique characteristics and regulations. From the laid-back atmosphere of Decatur to the family-friendly appeal of Marietta, each of these locations offers property owners unique investment opportunities.

If this looks like the city for your short-term rental investment, it’s worth looking at some properties in your desired areas. Maybe you’ll even want to get to work on some home improvements to get an even better per-night payout.

To safeguard your investment in Atlanta's dynamic rental market, consider securing your Airbnb with a comprehensive home warranty plan from AFC Home Warranty, located right here in the metro area. This provides a safety net for unforeseen expenses, offering peace of mind to hosts.

Learn more about our plans today.

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