I bought a single family home that has a terrace apartment with access either through the main house or a separate porticoed entrance at one side of the house. Prior to purchasing I was told by multiple officials in Dekalb county office that there are no STR regs for Dekalb county. There are hundreds of STRs presently listed on OTA sites and all show occupancy (sales) taxes being collected from renters for GA state and for Dekalb county. Problem is, now that I own the house and in the process of remodeling bathrooms, putting in cabinets and appliances, painting the entire house etc., I was told via email from the Planning Department that because there are no regulations for STRs, STRs are NOT ALLOWED. I am so confused and a little scared because that same email sent me a Use Table. Says my house is zoned R75 and the boxes for multi family use, short term rentals are both blank - nothing in them, which according to the email I received, indicates that these activities cannot be done there. Which messes up my plan, my back up plan and has me paralyzed trying to figure out what to do with this house. If I sell, I have to pay 3% prepayment. I need help! :)
@Patricia Lashley Typical government mentality saying that unless they explicitly tell you that you can do something then you can't... Nope, it doesn't work that in Georgia! Just the opposite actually. Courts have repeatedly ruled that unless a particular use is explicitly forbidden then any lawful use of land is allowed. Also, even if they had an ordinance saying STR's are not allowed don't assume that law is even lawful because the vast majority of local ordinances in GA that I've seen (including Atlanta's ordinance) are contrary to state law and thus voidable.
Zoning laws generally govern the use of land not the duration of its use. So if a residential single family rental (the use) is allowed, then a short term rental is the exact same "use" (residential
single family rental) except for a potentially shorter duration. There is plenty of settled case law on that as well (despite what local govm't officials will try coerce you into believing). In your case; if you would be fine renting out the separate apartment unit to a long term tenant then you are good for a short term tenant.
Obviously there are nuances and other considerations at play so talk to a good attorney who specializes in property rights for your specific circumstances.
@Robert Gilstrap, of course, is correct.
Dekalb doesn't have code restricting short term rentals, therefore it's permitted. Hence, there are thousands in Dekalb and no court cases. I'd keep this court case handy and carry on.
Morgan County v. May, 305 Ga. 305, 824 S.E.2d 365 (2019).