Short-term Vacation Rental Regulations
The following ordinances govern the location and operation of short-term vacation rentals (STVRs) in the City of Savannah. STVRs are limited to the area defined by the STVR Overlay District with the exception of certain business and agricultural zoning districts (B-C, B-N, B-L and A-1).
- Section 7.5 of the Zoning Ordinance.
- Short Term Vacation Rental Ordinance (as approved by City Council on 8/3/2017 and 9/28/2017)
STVR vs. Related Uses
A short-term vacation rental is defined as the rental of an entire dwelling unit for 30 days or less. The short-term rental of a room within an owner-occupied dwelling is defined as a "bed and breakfast homestay" and the rental of 2-5 rooms is considered a "bed and breakfast." Renting 6-15 rooms is considered an "inn" and requires either owner-occupancy or 24/7 onside management.
As of September 29, 2017, a 20% per-ward cap is applicable to non-owner occupied parcels in the Savannah Downtown Historic District as indicated in figure 7.5-1 and the Victorian Historic District as indicated in figure 7.5-2.
Owner-occupied property refers to real property which contains one or more dwelling unit(s) where the principal dwelling unit must be occupied by the property owner and constitute his/her primary and usual place of residence. The dwelling units must share the Property Identification Number assigned by the Chatham County Board of Assessors.
A ward map is available here.
At this time, the following wards have met the 20% per-ward cap in the Downtown Historic District and Victorian District:
|HISTORIC DISTRICT||VICTORIAN DISTRICT|
|Anson Ward||X||Barry Ward||X|
|Bartow Ward||X||Cumming Ward||X|
|Berrien Ward||X||Cuthbert Ward||X|
|Brown Ward||X||Elliot Ward||X|
|Calhoun Ward||X||Falligant Ward||X|
|Charlton Ward||X||Gallie Ward||X|
|Chatham Ward||X||Gue Ward||X|
|Columbia Ward||X||Lee Ward||X|
|Crawford Ward||X||Lester Ward||X|
|Currietown Ward||X||Lloyd Ward||X|
|Davis Ward||X||Reppard Ward||X|
|Forsyth Ward||X||Waring Ward||X|
|Pulaski Ward||X||White Ward||X|
|Percival Ward||X||Wylly Ward||X|
|Trustees Garden Ward||X|
Waiting List for Capped Wards
Any property owner wishing to apply for a non-owner occupied STVR certificate in the wards that have reached the 20% cap should submit the STVR Waiting List Form. The City will contact the wait list applicant when an opening in the ward occurs. The waiting list is maintained on a first-come, first served basis.
STVR Certificate Transfers and Grandfathering
Per Sec. 8-11012 of City Code, STVR certificates remain non-transferable.
Renewals of pre-existing STVR certificates issued before September 28, 2017 will not be denied on the grounds that issuance of a certificate will exceed the per-ward maximum cap limitation. When a transfer of property title occurs for a parcel with a pre-existing STVR certificate, a new application from the transferee/grantee will not be denied on the grounds that the issuance of a certificate will exceed the pre-ward maximum cap limitation if the transferee/grantee applies for a new STVR within six months from the date of title transfer.
All non-renewal STVR certificate applications submitted after September 28, 2017 are subject to the per-ward cap.
In the Streetcar (formerly Mid-City) local historic district, all STVRs on parcels zoned TN-2 must have two or more dwelling units, one of which must be owner-occupied. More detail is available in the Ordinance in section 7.5.4.
Occupants shall not exceed four (4) adults for dwelling units with no more than two bedrooms. For dwelling units with three or more bedrooms, the number shall not exceed two (2) adults per bedroom. Please note that bedrooms are subject to verification of building code compliance by the Zoning Administrator.
Occupant Acknowledges Parking And Occupancy Requirements
The occupant(s) must acknowledge the maximum occupancy of the short-term vacation rental and, if available, the location of on-site parking.
Change of Rental Agent
In the event the short-term vacation rental agent changes, it is the property owners responsibility to notify the City within five business days.
Exemplar Rental Agreement
The City requires an exemplar rental agreement which is a document outlining the standards an occupant must adhere to when staying at the STVR. As part of the application, a copy of the agreement must be provided. This agreement must now be posted in the STVR property. A sample agreement is available here.
Proof of Insurance
Proof of insurance is required and must indicate the premise is used as a short-term vacation rental for all new and renewing applications.
Short-term Vacation Rental Advertising
The property owner is responsible for publishing their short-term vacation rental certificate number and exemplar rental agreement in every print, digital, or internet advertisement and any property listing where the property is advertised.
Any new short-term vacation rental applicant must notify all of-record real property owners adjacent to the property prior to the issuance of an initial short-term vacation rental certificate. Proof of notification must be provided to the City. Information provided to adjacent property owners include:
- Street address of the proposed short-term vacation rental;
- Location of any on-site parking for short-term vacation rental occupants;
- Maximum occupancy requirements;
- Copy of the short-term vacation exemplar rental agreement;
- Name of property owner; and
- Name of rental agent company and contact information.
For condominiums, as defined by the Georgia Condominium Act, O.C.G.A. §§ 44-3-70, et seq., the property owner must provide a copy of the adopted condominium declaration either explicitly permitting leasing of the dwelling unit(s) for less than 30 days or adopted condominium declaration which contains no prohibition on short-term vacation rentals or the leasing of dwelling units for less than 30 days.