Short-term rental property frustrating residents in Midtown Savannah

(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - People living in a midtown Savannah neighborhood continue to complain about illegal short-term vacation rentals and the problems they cause on their streets.

These complaints come just two months after city officials fined the property owner thousands of dollars for operating these properties illegally. People living on East 57th Street said a big party Sunday night kept them up all night. They said police came at least three times and even made several arrests.

"Must have been 20 cars up and down the street with local residents just loitering in the streets just hanging out, playing music, smoking, drinking in our streets. They were at a birthday party, two houses down," said nearby resident Kristie Mcgahagan.

Signs condemning short-term vacation rentals litter yards all over midtown Savannah. They read pretty clearly: "No vacancy. Short-term rentals are illegal in this area."

Despite that, residents said homeowners continue to rent out their homes, including two on East 57th Street.

"Lots of families live around here and we just don't want it in our neighborhood. We want our neighborhood to be a safe environment where everyone knows each other and looks out for each other," said Mcgahagan.

If the property sounds familiar, it's because we showed it to you back in August. It was part of a crack-down by code officers on illegal short-term vacation rentals. They fined the owner, Mark Dewitt, $5,000 for illegally running 10 short-term vacation rentals.

"There are some illegal homes, and the city is moving against those at this point, but the city has to follow the law in doing so and that takes a little bit of time," said the district's alderman, Julian Miller.

That lengthy process has seemingly allowed the property owners to continue renting the home to visitors. In turn, leaving people living around here frustrated.

"I'm relatively new to Savannah and I had no idea when I bought in this neighborhood that this was an issue. It's been an ongoing issue since we moved in," said Mcgahagan.

Alderman Miller added the solution for the short-term vacation rentals is not simple and will take time. As for this incident, we are still waiting on getting copies of the police reports.

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