Understanding the 2024 Short Term Rental Permit Program in Sevier County

Sevier County is releasing a new short term rental property permitting process!

If you could like to receive a packet from the County explaining the program —  fill out this form and you will receive one. (Note: we submitted our information and are still not in receipt. We’re unsure of when they will be sending out the information)

The packet will contain a letter explaining the program, the application, a “Pre-Inspection” checklist, and all of the contact information if anyone has questions.

Here’s what we know so far:

The permit application period will open on January 1, 2024.

Property owners have until March 31, 2024 to apply for a Short Term Rental Unit Permit to be assessed with the codes from the time their home was built. 

From what we understand, as long as the house is permitted, and does not lapse — the permit passes with the sale.

Example: You bought a house that was built in 1990. You apply for a permit before 3/31/24. Permit gets approved, you never let it lapse. You decide to sell in 2025 — new owner gets to take over permit (that was issued against 1990’s building codes).
Win.Win.Win for everyone! 

It’s imperative that you apply for your permit before March 31, 2024

The inspection/permitting program allows the Sevier County to inspect all STRUs in our county to ensure that all life safety measures are in place and that there are no obvious hazards that could result in causing harm or death to any residents or visitors. The inspection includes fire safety, smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, electrical safety, structural integrity!

The cost will be $250.00 for a STRU that sleeps 12 or less and then for any STRU that sleeps 13 or more, the cost would be $250 plus $25 per additional occupant (person). Occupancy will be stated when each property owner or management company submits their application; however, upon completion of inspection, we will verify that there are not sleeping accommodations for more than what is claimed and that it is not being advertised for more than what is claimed.

Due to the fact that there are approximately 6,500 rentals in Sevier County (outside of the cities), they will be completed as received and then the following year (2025) the owner will receive a renewal invoice the month that their inspection was completed in 2024. Example: if your property wasn’t inspected until June of 2024, then you would receive the renewal invoice in June of 2025; this would then stagger when permits were issued.

The county in the process of getting additional information on the county website. We are going to add some of the frequently asked questions in the near future as well to hopefully help answer some of these questions.

Answers to a few questions you may have:

Sprinkler Requirements
Short-Term Rental Units that are more than 3 stories, more than 5,000 square feet, or sleep 13 or more people and were built before February 1, 2016, will not be required to install a fire suppression system as long as they meet the following:

1.) The property owner applies for a STRU permit between January 1, 2024, and March 31, 2024

(However, if there are not adequate means of egress in sleeping areas then the sleeping capacity may have to be reduced or an alternate solution be determined)

2.) IF you don’t self-apply for a STRU permit during the above-referenced period – that exemption may be void.

Short-Term Rental Units that are more than 3 stories above grade, more than 5,000 square feet, or sleep 13 or more people and were built after February 1, 2016, will be required to install a sprinkler system.

If the property is only meeting the one rule of sleeping more 13 or more then reducing the occupancy will be an option. However, this is due to the rules and regulations of the State of Tennessee which Sevier County must follow.

For Properties Located in the City of Gatlinburg – Nothing changes.
ALL STRs in Gatlinburg corp. city limits must apply for and/or renew their TR (Tourist Residency) permits and are subject to annual fire/safety inspections. You likely know who you are; however, if you have doubts, call the city at (865) 436-1400.

For Properties Located in the City of Pittman Center – Nothing changes.
As of 2/20/2020, ALL STRs in the corp. city limits of Pittman Center must apply for and/or renew an ATRP (Annual Tourist Residency Permit) and are also subject to annual fire safety inspection. You likely know who you are. If in doubt, call the City of Pittman Center (865) 436-5499), give them your property’s street address, and they will let you know.

For Properties Located in the City of Pigeon Forge – Nothing is in place – YET.
According to the Sevier County Fire Administrator, it’s in the works – but nothing is final yet. As we hear more, we will let you know.

For Properties Located in the City of Sevierville
They have approved a S.T.O.P. (Short-Term Operational Permit) program.
ALL STRs in corp. city limits must apply for and/or renew this annually. STRs are also subject to annual fire and safety inspections. If you have any questions, call the city at (865)453-5504

Therefore, if a property is being rented that was built after February 1, 2016, and it is sleeping 13 or more occupants and does not have a sprinkler system it is not in compliance with the state rules and regulations and does not have a Certificate of Occupancy for 13 or more.

So, if you reduce the number it sleeps, there might be an exemption available…

 

We’ll update this blog post as more information becomes available!