Savannah Gazette - Summer 2019

Articles of Interest . . .

Short Term Vacation Rentals.. The other side of the STORY…

The Historic District of Savannah is a National Treasure. It is some of American's oldest history. It is a privilege and honor to preserve it for future generations, and keep this living American history accessible and available to our own children and to guests and visitors to Savannah.

Thirteen (13) million visitors annually bring $3 BILLION dollars into Savannah's economy, so they can explore the restored Federalist, Italianate, Georgian, Romanesque, Gothic and Greek revival homes and buildings. Unfortunately, before STVR, historic Savannah was only an example of displayed neglect and urban flight, because property OWNERS could not maintain their properties which are the very FOUNDATION of the residential character of our historic city.

Contemporary Savannah is now 'Architecturally Sound' because of STVR. It is now a trove of antique architecture along the tree-shaded streets and squares planned by James Edward Oglethorpe, the city's founder. It is now a true reflection of the preservation efforts of 1400 STVR property owners that over the past three year recovered Savannah. The other major factor is SCAD who impeccably recovered 73 'white elephant' buildings at their own expense. This recovery of the Historic Districts and the influx of 3 billion dollars into the economy would never have happened any other way. Everyone benefits because of the STVR owners' investments.

So what is a Short Term Vacation Rental?

STVR, Executive Rentals, and Home Stays collectively are 1400 Independent, Small Businesses.

A STVR can be a whole or part of a building completely furnished and available for rent for any number of days up to 30. A 'Home Stay' traveler stays in a home with the property owner. A STVR owner or their hired manager are responsible for the rental property, and operate under the Savannah STVR Ordinance. A rental for over 30 days, but anytime short of an annual rental, can be an Executive Rental [a completely furnished living space] and/or a long term unfurnished rental property. The owners are Landlords under the Law.

Who are these neighbors of ours who are STVR owners?

Again 1400 Independent, Small Business owners.
  • They recovered, restored or at least greatly improved at least 60% of the residential properties in the historic district.

  • Invested their own dollars (sometimes borrowed) to make these improvements.

  • Because of them Savannah is now architecturally sound.

  • They maintain the STVR residential properties to a much higher standard of maintenance, compared to all other residential residences that are only owner occupied and/or buildings that the owners use as a long term rental property business. The only other historic homes that are kept as well as the STVR's properties are other professional businesses: doctors, lawyers, dentists, accountants, small businesses like the Mate Factor, and the properties that are B&B's.

  • They pay a tax that is imposed upon them to 'apply' for STVR business status, and an additional ongoing annual fee to maintain legal STVR status.

  • They pay the regular properties tax everyone pays for residential property, PLUS they also pay the City an imposed tax of 6% on all dollars generated from allowing tourists to stay in their home. This is in addition to the 7% tax the State imposes on them.

  • STVR properties are residential properties and are held to the same parking ordinance to which all residents are held.

  • STVR business is a self-policing business. They continue in business because of good reviews by renters who leave happy. Good reviews assure other new renters that the business is what was represented to them, and what they expected.

  • STVR’s have created thousands of new opportunities, and jobs for other local businesses, and are 4% of all of Savannah's hospitality dollars. And they support many millions of dollars coming into the local economy, which is money that helps to offset the taxes paid by their neighbors.
So next time you see your STVR neighbors – Make sure you thank them!

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