Short-Term Rental Requirements
- Short-term rental property must be zoned Residential (R)
- A short-term rental certificate is required to be obtained from the business license division for each short-term rental property.
- No person shall rent, lease or otherwise exchange for compensation all or any portion of a property as short-term rental without first obtaining a short-term rental certificate from the county.
- A separate short-term rental certificate shall be required for each short-term rental property.
- The short-term rental certificate may not be transferred, assigned, or used, for any location other than the one for which it is issued.
- When a change of ownership or agent occurs, the new owners or agent shall notify the business license division and apply for and obtain a new short-term rental certificate.
What is a Short-Term Rental Property?
Short-term rental property means an accommodation for transient guests where, in exchange for compensation, a residential dwelling unit is provided for lodging for a period of time not to exceed 30 consecutive days.
I am an AirBNB and/or VRBO host. Does this apply to me?
Yes. Short-term rental property means an accommodation for transient guests where, in exchange for compensation, a residential dwelling unit is provided for lodging for a period of time not to exceed 30 consecutive days. This includes properties utilizing AirBNB, VRBO, and other short-term rental hosting sites.
What is a Short-Term Rental Certificate?
Short-term rental certificate means a certificate issued by the business license division to owners or the designated rental agent of short-term rental properties who have submitted the required documentation and meet the code requirements for operation of a short-term rental.
Who can possess a Short-Term Rental Certificate?
Property owners of property zoned Residential (R). It is prohibited to operate a short-term rental in any property zoned Commercial (C).
You may use the County's My Neighborhood GIS Map to check your property's zoning designation. (best if used on a desktop or laptop computer)
What is required to obtain a Short-Term Rental Certificate?
Applicants for short-term rental certificate shall submit, on an annual basis, an application for a short-term rental certificate to the business license division. The application shall be accompanied by a non-refundable application fee in the amount of $55.00. Such application shall include, but is not limited to:
- The name, address, telephone and email address of the owner(s) of record of the property for which a certificate is sought
- The address of the property to be used as a short-term rental property
- The name, address, telephone number and email address of the short-term rental agent
- The short-term rental agent's sworn acknowledgement that he or she has received a copy of this section, has reviewed it, and understands its requirements
- The number and location of parking spaces allotted to the premises
What is the penalty for operating an unregistered short-term rental?
A short-term rental property that is determined to be operating without the necessary short-term rental certificate shall subject the owner to a penalty of $500.00. Each day the short-term rental is rented for overnight accommodation without a certificate is a separate violation.
The penalties for violations specified in this section shall be as follows:
- First violation within any 12-month period: $500 Penalty
- Second violation within any 12-month period: $750.00 Penalty
- When a short-term rental agent has accumulated three violations for a particular property within a 12-month period of the first violation, the county shall revoke any pending certificates, the existing certificate for the subject property, and reject all applications for the subject premises for a period of 12 consecutive months.
- For any violation that occurs when more than a 12-month period has transpired, it shall start again as a first violation.
My neighbor is renting their property on AirBNB or VRBO. How can I notify the County?
Complaints regarding a short-term rental property may be provided in writing, by email, through the online code enforcement system, or by telephone to the code enforcement division. Complaints must include a description of the complaint and the property address of the AirBNB or VRBO in question.
Complaints shall result in a Notice of Violation sent to the short-term rental agent and/or property owner.
Complainant information is not included in the Notice of Violation; but is subject to Open Records Request. Anonymous inquiries may be submitted by calling 770-528-2180 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Code Enforcement:
Code Enforcement Phone: (770) 528-2180
Non-Emergency Police Department Phone: (770) 499-3900
Code Enforcement Email: email@example.com
What taxes are required for short-term rentals?
Short-term rental applicants must pay a $55 application fee every year to maintain compliance with the Cobb County Business License Office. Occupation tax is not collected on short-term rentals. Short-Term Rental Certificates expire on December 31 and must be resubmitted every year.
The short-term rental property owner/agent is responsible for collection of all required hotel/motel taxes, tourism fees, or other state and local fees/taxes relating to the lodging of individuals. These payments shall be paid to the state and county as prescribed by state law and county Code. The county may seek to enforce payment of all applicable taxes to the extent provided by law, including injunctive relief.
If operating from AirBNB or VRBO, hotel/motel tax, tourism fees, etc. may be automatically collected and submitted from the host company. It is the short-term rental property owner/agent's responsibility to ensure all applicable taxes are collected and paid.
The purpose of this section is to protect the public health, safety and general welfare of individuals and the community at large; to establish standards for short-term rentals of privately owned residential structures rented to transient occupants, minimize adverse effects of short-term rental uses on surrounding residential neighborhoods, and preserve the character of neighborhoods in which short-term rentals occurs.
View the entire ordinance code on short-term rentals in Cobb County.