After more than three years of wrestling with how to regulate short-term rentals through sites like Airbnb, the City Council [Tuesday] passed sweeping new laws that could dramatically alter the industry.

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Here’s an overview of the changes that will take effect Nov. 1:

Airbnb hosts who rent out their primary residence must be home during the guests’ stay if they want to rent without a permit.

For an owner who will not stay overnight in rentals, he or she will be required to get a conditional-use permit.

More than 2,100 rentals that have paid the transient occupancy tax and have registered with the Commissioner of the Revenue by July 1, 2018 will be grandfathered in and do not need to get permits. Sandbridge properties also don’t have to go through this process.

The permits need to be renewed every five years. If no violations happen during that time, the city will renew them. The permitting process gives the City Council an opportunity to approve or deny rental properties and provides an avenue for neighbors to tell the city about any potential concerns about the rentals.

The city may revoke permits from any properties that violate codes.

The new rules limit overnight stays to three people per bedroom.

Property owners can only rent to two different people within seven days.

One off-street parking spot will be required for each bedroom.

Special events permits will be required for more than 50 guests. A house can only have three events per year. This rule came about to help control event houses, many of which are located in Sandbridge.

Property owners will not be allowed to rent out structures such as carriage houses or garages with apartments in them.

Short-term rentals will need to carry $1 million in liability insurance coverage.


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