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November 11, 2022

Position Statement: Short Term Vacation Rentals

Following the July 28th position statement (below) regarding the City of Chattanooga’s moratorium (through January 2023) on new applications for non-owner-occupied short-term vacation rentals: 

Greater Chattanooga REALTORS® asks that the City of Chattanooga would expedite their new policies for Short Term Vacation Rentals (STVRs). The city needs to enforce their current code, shut down illegal STVRs, raise the penalty for operating an unpermitted STVR, and hire necessary employees to enforce the STVR rules.

the Board of Directors, Governmental Affairs Committee, and Staff continued to monitor this issue. Upon review of the City of Chattanooga’s Draft STVR Ordinance, the Board issued the following statement to City Council:

Greater Chattanooga REALTORS® have reviewed the proposed recommendations made by the City of Chattanooga to its Absentee Owner Short Term Vacation Rental (STVR) Ordinance. We believe there are many positives to what has been proposed including increasing fees, hiring additional staff for enforcement purposes, forming an administrative board, and having an administrative hearing officer oversee the  compliance process.

However, we are very concerned that the city is considering discontinuing Absentee Owner R-1 STVRs and potentially allowing them in R-2. Currently in Chattanooga R-2 is the only option most people have when it comes to affordable housing. By removing the option to have STVRs in R-1 and potentially allowing them in R-2, we will most definitely see an uptick of R-2 being purchased for the sole purpose of having STVRs. We believe this will be detrimental to affordable housing in Chattanooga and should not be included in the new ordinance.

Greater Chattanooga REALTORS® recommends the City of Chattanooga cancel the moratorium and utilize the next year to analyze whether the new software system and additional enforcement staff resolves the issues that resulted in the moratorium. If after a year these changes did not have a significant impact in lessening the number of illegal STVRs in the city, then additional changes to the STVR ordinance could be considered. The fact that the city is trying to completely overhaul an ordinance that they never properly enforced to begin with is unfair to those property owners who were legal and followed the ordinance as required by the City of Chattanooga.

As always, we appreciate the City Council’s time and consideration to this issue. We hope you find our comments and recommendations helpful and are available anytime to discuss further.