SAVANNAH, GA (WSAV) – It is the busiest week of the spring for Savannah hotels and short term vacation rentals (STVR).
The city is looking out for those last minute rental listings promising visitors an authentic Savannah trip but doing so illegally.
“Short term vacation rentals are a very inexpensive way to experience the Savannah historic district a very unique way,” says Marcia Banes who now works for a local tour groups but spent the last three years as an agent for a Savannah STVR business.
As Savannah gets ready for the masses to fill River street this St. Patrick’s day, the hotels and vacation rental industry is also filling up.
“We are not treating it any different than a regular weekend or weekday we are continuing to monitor and enforce as we normally do,” says Bridget Lidy with the city’s tourism management department.
The city enacted the STVR ordinance just before last years St. Patrick’s Day parade. More than 650 beds to be exact were booked then. Now, weeks before this years celebration, the city is already finding violators.
“They have noticed four to five over the past two to three weeks specifically advertising for St. Patrick’s day week,” Lidy says.
Short term rental businesses across Savannah and Tybee Island are seeing 90 to 80% of their rooms filled this week. For those interested in renting or finding a spot to stay, there’s one important number you need to notice.
“An SVR number on their vacation rentals to make sure that they’re legal and if they are operating legally in the city of Savannah. If they have that SVR number you should be able to reference that with a city employee if you have any questions,” Banes says.
Seeing that number is how Bridget Lidy and the tourism management department know residents are following the law from Airbnb to Craigslist. If anyone should have a questions with a vacation rental…
“Please give us a call at 525-1500 to report that so we can go ahead and investigate,” Lidy says.
Lidy shared with News 3 the exact areas of downtown and midtown where STVR’s are permitted through zoning. The majority of the Historic Downtown district allows for the lodging style, parts of the Victorian District and slivers of the midtown Thomas Park areas along Bull and Lincoln streets. No homes below Victory Drive are permitted to be STVR’s.