TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - Tybee Island city officials say their rental market has flourished, but it’s made it challenging for the city to ensure compliance with local regulations to maintain the character of its neighborhoods.
City Manager Shawn Gillen says with the tourist population growing, it’s important to hold owners accountable for complying with local ordinances. Gillen says what they’ve come up with will help Tybee stay a place that’s welcoming to people of all ages and with all interests.
Since Tybee Island decided to reopen this spring, vacationers have flooded the island’s short-term vacation rentals. However, Gillen says the issue surrounding the properties has grown immensely.
“We’re struggling to try and find who’s renting, who’s not and then the noncompliance issue started to become a problem,” Gillen said.
The city says they’ve found a solution using a service called “Granicus” to identify unregistered short-term vacation rentals, collect appropriate taxes from owners and offer a hotline for residents to report disturbances. The software is up and running and already the city has discovered hundreds of unregistered properties. “We’re already seeing 200, 300, 400 no compliant properties in the City of Tybee.”
Gillen says the issue at hand has to do with those who try to rent out on their own through services, like Airbnb.
“The people who rent through Tybee Vacation Rentals or Tybee Beach Vacation Rentals, Tybee Cottages, Mermaid Cottages, you know the companies here on Tybee, they’re not the ones we have problems with compliance.”
Gillen says the city also intends on altering the current noise ordinance because noise at these properties is the number one complaint they get.
“It’s going to give us information and help us enforce the noise ordinance and improve the quality of life.”
He also says they’ll be moving to a completely online registration system sometime next month.