Changes are coming to Chattanooga’s Short-Term Vacation Rental Ordinance. Chattanooga City Council is working on a draft of changes that would affect every Chattanooga property owner’s right to open their home to paying short term guests. This includes upping the ante on fines for those who are denied an application for permits. This first draft is to be presented to the council on Dec. 3.
City Council has drawn boundary lines throughout Chattanooga often without clear reasoning to determine who can Airbnb their home and who can’t. You are a winner if you are inside the circle and can apply for a permit to lawfully operate. Those outside the circle are the losers; unable to legally use their property to its fullest potential. City Council contend that they have expanded the allowable zones to the property owners that truly want the ability to Airbnb.
The Chattanooga area has over 1,000 short term vacation rentals according to AIrDNA, a STVR analysis firm. As many of 400 of those are within Chattanooga city limits and operate without permits. I would assume that most of the unpermitted do not have permits because they are outside the STVR overlay zone. These scofflaws have operated with the threat of a yearly fine and court costs not to exceed $150. However, if the new changes are passed, you could be fined $50 for every day that your property is advertised to the public for rent. This could amount to over $18,000 a year per listing.
Anyone interested in obtaining a permit to operate under the blessing of the city should reach out. Call, visit, and email your council person or call all members of the Chattanooga City Council to let them know that random circles drawn on a map does not constitute equal rights for all. We all deserve the same property rights independent of our political involvement or socioeconomic status.