By Dave Emanuel
Proposed House Bill (HB) 1093 would eliminate any and all local control of residential property that is, or is anticipated to be, subject to a rental agreement of more than 30 days. HB 1093 enables developers and corporate home rental companies to buy as many properties as they choose, build whatever type of structures they think would be most profitable, and rent them out with no city or county permit, condition or limitation. If HB 1093 were to pass, there would be nothing to stop corporations from purchasing existing single family houses, tearing them down and replacing them with multi-family (apartment) buildings.
Cities and counties would be unable to stop such developments, control where they’re built, or influence their appearance because they could not enact or enforce ANY restrictions on residential land or dwellings, which could be anticipated to be subject to a rental agreement. According to the Georgia Municipal Association, “Preemption of local decision-making is the priority of the Georgia Association of Realtors, which plans to have realtors at the Capitol on Wednesday, February 16th, lobbying in support of this measure. In addition, many contract lobbying firms have been hired to preempt local authority and are actively working legislators.“
Proponents of HB 1093 will undoubtedly claim that the bill’s purpose is strictly to increase the number of rental properties and address the need for affordable housing. Such claims should be prefaced with, “Once upon a time” and ended with “happily ever after”. HB 1093’s wording indicates its true purpose is to allow developers to build whatever they want, wherever they want, whenever they want. Why else would it wrest control from the local (city and county) elected officials who directly serve the citizens who would be most affected by development within their communities?
One aspect of HB 1093 that has apparently not been considered, is that it will benefit human traffickers and sex traffickers. Currently, short term rental properties are sought after by human/sex traffickers because movement in and out cannot be monitored as it can at hotels and motels. If HB 1093 passes, it will increase the inventory of properties that can be rented for the relatively short term of 31 days.
Whether you’re a home owner, a city council member or a county commission member, do you really want your local government to lose all ability to permit, condition, or limit rental housing? Anyone with a concern for his or her community has to ask themselves, “Who has a better understanding of zoning and rental housing in your community – unrestrained developers, legislators meeting for 40 days under the gold dome in Atlanta, or local municipal and county leaders who directly serve local residents all-year-long?
Typically, bills such as HB 1093 are a consequence of heavy lobbying, and possibly campaign contributions, made by individuals or groups seeking to promote their own interests, at the expense of individual homeowners. Specifically, the language of HB 1093, makes it illegal for a city or county to “enact or enforce any restrictions on land or dwellings that are or are anticipated to be subject to a residential agreement of more than 30 days in duration and are located on any property where residential dwellings are allowed”. The bill defines restrictions as, “any permit, condition, fee, occupational tax certificate fee, amenity requirement, license fee, or other limitation on land or a dwelling.” Although construction would have to meet construction standard, if this bill were to be approved, the state legislature would have completely eliminated any and all control over residential housing. (All developers would have to do is state that they anticipated a piece of property could be subject to a rental agreement.)
HB 1093 is currently being reviewed by the House Judiciary Committee Home owners throughout Georgia who value the integrity of their communities should contact the committee members and tell them to vote against advancing HB 1093 out of committee. Email addresses are below.