Sevier County STRU Permits

      In January, Sevier County implemented new Fire and Life Safety Codes, and established an
inspection program to enforce those codes. We have been expecting this for some time, but it
has been unclear as to the timing and exactly what would be covered. As many of you are
aware, our region has been on a journey of making changes that would ensure the safety of
guests, particularly since the dramatic fires that blew down from the Chimney Top area and out
of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park on November 23, 2016. Approximately 11,000
acres burned – more than 2% of the entire park. Approximately 6,000 acres outside the park
within Sevier County burned as well and several people lost their lives in the fire that year.
Motivated by their desire to address fire and life safety, Sevier County officials began working
on guidelines and a permitting process while deferring much – particularly the larger cabin
permitting of overnight rental cabins – to the State Fire Marshall’s office. As of now they have
completed their regulations and hired staff inspectors. This will mark the beginning of Short-
Term Rental Unit (STRU) annual permits. This was a monumental task, but Jan. 1, 2024 ,they
began receiving applications. Applications will be given an appointment for inspection, they will
continue to take permit applications up to March 31. After that date, anyone operating a STRU
without a permit may be susceptible to a $50 per day fine and will be required to meet the
locally adopted fire and life safety codes.
     The short-term rental permit fee is $250 for an occupancy of 12 or less. 13 or more occupants is
an additional $25 per occupant. The inspections will be spread throughout the year and once a
STRU is approved it will be valid for 12 months from the date of issuance.
The Sevier County Fire & Rescue office is attempting to mail every owner of property on short-
term overnight rental an application along with a letter that explains the process. However,
many owners may be difficult to locate. Therefore, I am writing this to help spread the word. I
want to make sure you are aware of this new permit requirement. I would also ask that you
contact anyone you think is a STRU owner and give them a heads up. This is being widely
published locally, of course, but many of you are out of town and have LLC’s and bookkeepers
who sort your mail so you may not find this communication readily.
The letter contains the items that the inspectors are looking for when they make their visit to
your STRU property. The information is also available for review on their website at, and you can send questions by email to
    The Mission Statement of the Sevier County Fire & Rescue is to protect our community from
the perils of fire, explosions, and other hazardous conditions. This mission will be accomplished
through the review of fire safety plans and sprinkler plan designs, fire investigations and fire
inspections following the applicable regulations of Sevier County. We will actively participate
with our community, Serve as role models, and strive to effectively and efficiently utilize all
resources made available, to provide safety and excellent customer service to the citizens,
businesses and visitors of Sevier County.

     Of course, we are here for you as well. Like you, we are eager to have our properties inspected
to see exactly what this is going to look like! We can help you with evaluating your property for
value, a sale, or connect with you a contractor that you may need to help bring your cabin into
code or address safety issues.

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