After working closely with representatives of the short-term vacation rental industry, the Tybee City Council approved amendments to the city’s short-term vacation rental ordinance just in time to implement it for the coming year.
Amy Gaster, owner of Tybee Vacation Rentals and member of Tybee Island Association of Rental Agents (TIARA) said, “Now that the City has experienced its first year in managing STVR registrations and other matters, they have communicated openly about the need to amend the ordinance to allow for more dedicated City resources. I believe the proposed changes are positive for the City staff, the community, and STVR homeowners. We are grateful that, unlike many cities across the country (including Savannah), there were no onerous restrictions being proposed as part of this revision. Even though the fee will increase from $25 per year to $100 per year, property owners can choose to save money due to no longer being required to pay for land-line phone service (Tybee’s 911 system can track mobile emergency calls).
The city will use the revenue to fund city staff members who will work on STVR administrative functions as well as enforcement and compliance matters. In 2017 the city received around 1,100 STVR registrations and needs further staff support to manage this process. TIARA Managers look forward to working collaboratively with the new city staff to positively manage the specific needs of vacation rental properties, their owners, our guests, and the community.
“After two hurricanes in two years with many property damages, we are all looking forward to a smooth and successful 2018.”
The city’s new vacation rental ordinance, which takes effect on January 1, 2018, increases the annual registration fee for short-term rentals from $25 to $100 per year per home. With more than 1,100 short-term rentals on Tybee Island, this will add more than $82,000 to the city’s annual budget. The additional revenue from the increased fee will provide funding for two new city employees; a part-time administrator position to manage the registration and renewal process as well as an additional marshal to help with enforcement on nights and weekends.
The previous requirement that each property have a landline telephone on site was eliminated from the ordinance. The original intention was to provide phone service in case a guest needed to call 911. However, this proved difficult to enforce and because most travelers use mobile phones, it was difficult to know if it was a necessary requirement.
The annual registration fees are due January 1. However homeowners and managers will have a 90 day grace period to pay the increased fee if necessary.