People deserve access to housing: Ban Short-term rentals in Athens, GA

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Christina Dobson started this petition to Athens City Council and

Athens, GA has been a town where people stay. There’s so much this city can offer and I can’t count the times I’ve heard “I came here for ‘....’ and never left.” But it’s not that town anymore... Families are being priced out of Athens. Landlords evict long term tenants because short-term rentals are so much more profitable. Home ownership is moving further and further out of reach for most people. Instead of selling their home when they move (or when their college students move), people are keeping second or third homes and cashing in on the booming short-term rental/home sharing game.

Maybe this sounds great initially, but it doesn’t take long for the overall negative effects of short term rental’s rise in popularity to show. Real estate prices have skyrocketed, rental rates have more than doubled, homelessness rates have made a sharp increase, with the elderly and disabled populations (those on a fixed income) in the fastest growing group. People of color are being priced out of historically black neighborhoods. Local businesses that we all love are being priced out of beloved locations and forced to go out of business, remember Ike & Jane’s? People won’t in the near future, what other favorite business is next?

But wait, what about the increased tourism?? Recent studies have actually shown that short-term rentals are not increasing tourism but only replacing other travel accommodations. Also, online 2-4% of short term rental customers surveyed said they would not have traveled if they weren’t able to book a short term rental, like Airbnb. These services were meant to make traveling more affordable but most cost more than hotels do more. https://files.epi.org/pdf/157766.pdf

Checkout the analysis above, the people profiting from these supposed “home sharing” rentals are disproportionately white and wealthy. Do we want a city where lower middle class families are homeless so that wealthy families can have a second or third boat? Is that Athens to you? 

 

Local governments have an obligation to safeguard and protect the interests of the public. Through regulations, they can decide whether or not to ban the operations of any company. Many cities, like San Francisco, have taken action to protect local residents requiring that people making listing are actual residents and reside in those homes a certain percentage on the year. This has significantly decreased the number of short-term home sharing rental listings. 

Having a place to live is a RIGHT. Help preserve that right and shut down wealthy people taking advantage of what was meant to be a way for middle of road folks to made a little extra money when they’re out of town. This isn’ta home sharing business anymore, this is a taking homes from the poor and giving money to the rich business. 

My own family has struggled to find a place to live over the last year, my two small children and I would really appreciated a place to live and so would many others in similar or worse situations. Call the government officials to PROTECT OUR FAMILIES, CHILDREN, ELDERLY, DISABLED, And all the other non-wealthy residents struggling for a place to lay their head at night. Please help.

 

 

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