TYBEE ISLAND, Ga (WSAV) – Property owners and realtors are concerned about an item on Tybee Island City Council’s agenda.
The proposal would cap the number of short term vacation rentals in residential neighborhoods, and potentially enact a moratorium on registering property as a vacation rental for 90 days.
Jenny Rutherford, a realtor who lives on Tybee Island, said she is concerned that the ban will force property owners to register their homes as short term vacation rentals out of fear of losing that option and source of income in the future.
“We’re afraid that all the properties that are under contract right now, there are 35 homes that are under contract, will not be able to continue on as vacation rentals, and anyone that’s considering selling right now, their property values will be affected too,” said Rutherford.
Properties that are not registered as vacation rentals sell for a lot less because they can’t provide a secondary source of income for homeowners. Rutherford told News 3 that there are currently 140 properties that are active on the market, totaling 280 families who will be directly impacted by this vote.
The City Manager of Tybee Island, Shawn Gillen, told News 3 that he understands the potential consequences of the moratorium, but there are already around 1,100 registered STVR’s.
“We’re in the height of our tourist season, our STVRs seem to be pretty well booked out right now, and that seems to be when they get the majority of the complaints come in,” said Gillen.
Gillen said these nuisance complaints create tension between the tourists and year-round residents. Council members are considering an increase in the STVR annual fee to hire more code enforcement officers and pay for a service to monitor for any unregistered rentals. STVR fees are currently $100 per year and $135 to obtain a business license.
Council members are also proposing a moratorium on pool installations.
Shirley Sessions, the Mayor of Tybee Island, said that there will need to be two readings and public hearings before the moratoriums are approved. The council plans to seek public input. The next city council meeting is on Thursday, June 25.