Beach Vacations

Georgia beach town orders pause to new vacation rentals

TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (AP) — City officials overseeing Georgia’s largest public beach have ordered a three-month pause on homeowners registering their properties as vacation rentals.

The Tybee Island city council on Thursday approved a 90-day moratorium on permitting new short-term vacation rentals. The island east of Savannah has about 3,000 residents.

The decision came amid complaints from some full-time residents who say vacation rentals in their neighborhoods are being packed with too many people and have caused an excess of garbage to accumulate.

“We have people renting properties that don’t live in the state, not taking care of them,” Tybee Island resident Mack Kitchens told WTOC-TV.

Some real estate agents pushed back, saying the moratorium isn’t necessary and worrying that it could jeopardize pending home sales.

Real estate broker Jenny Rutherford said her firm has 34 Tybee Island properties under contract, and she’s concerned a rental moratorium could derail some from closing.

“A lot of these buyers are planning to use their property as a vacation rental,” Rutherford said.

City officials decided to exempt vacation rentals sold to new owners. Those owners will be allowed to apply for permits to rent the properties during the 90-day moratorium.