Recently the City of Atlanta approved legislation amending the regulation and taxation of short-term rentals (№20-O-1656). In short: this ordinance penalizes owners who buy properties for the sole use of renting them via companies such as Airbnb by fining them if their guests break certain rules. Now, this is a great introduction to some accountability, but it is not the full solution.

Airbnb is nothing new to Atlanta, but with the SuperBowl and NBA All Star Weekend happening here recently along with the housing market boom, properties are being bought up faster than ever. Not only that, people are renovating them and flipping them at ridiculously unaffordable rates in areas typically filled with low income residents. This is a problem.

Let’s go back to Airbnb. The penalty for violating the ordinance is $500, a slap on the wrist. But there is a much broader issue that Airbnb presents: displacement. I have heard from countless people the amount of times they have had a developer constantly call them or go to their door asking to buy their homes. Kinda odd….and disgusting if you ask me. The City of Atlanta needs to go further than just a fine. They need more accountability. I had a friend text me this morning that they have had it with people buying homes solely for the use of Airbnb and brought up the idea that they should issue limits to permits for short-term rentals. I thought that was a wonderful idea.

I firmly believe community engagement will solve some of the issues that our communities are going through, but we know how hard it is to get people to turn out and even harder if you don’t know who you live next to. It is something the community as a whole needs to continue working on, and I am making sure to do my part to increase turnout at community events such as clean-ups (which I have hosted every other weekend for the past several months, shoutout to the Keep Atlanta Beautiful Commission for providing the equipment necessary to carry out the clean ups).

I am not against someone in the community, especially after mass unemployment, renting out a room or two as an extra source of income. Why? Because they are still present in their own homes and interact with their guests, which hopefully allows them to have more oversight on the activities taking place. But bottom line: if you are purchasing for the sole purpose of short-term rentals to make a quick buck not only are you participating in a system that displaces families but you are also disrupting our communities because we do not know who is coming in and out of them.

You can hear me speak a little more on the topic on Atlanta Decoded, here is a clip:

Full episode: (I start giving my input at around the 8 minute and 23 second mark). Follow them on IG and Twitter @ AtlantaDecoded

I am a runner, reader, activist, community organizer, and fighter for human rights. Lucho por la gente.