Battle Heats Up Over Some Short Term Rentals In Nashville

Posted at 10:20 PM, Jan 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-09 23:28:09-05

The battle has heated up over regulations for short term rentals like Airbnb in Nashville.

Two Metro Council Members are proposing an amendment that would temporarily stop the issuing of new city permits for non-owner occupied short term rental properties.  The properties are operated by landlords who don't live at the homes they're renting, and are often looking to cash in on Nashville's popularity.

“It just made sense to pause,” said Burkley Allen, Council Member for district 18 and a sponsor of the amendment.  “We have a lot of these properties, and there are some that are causing trouble.  Let’s not add to it until we figure out how to deal with it effectively.”

The decision comes after a lengthy public hearing last week where multiple residents expressed concerns about how these properties have negatively impacted their neighborhoods.  Some described wild parties that were noisy and inappropriate for a neighborhood, and said the short term rentals were leading to the “commercialization of neighborhoods.”

While some residents are calling for a complete ban on the properties in an effort to protect neighborhoods, Council Member Allen said that could set the city up for a lawsuit.  Instead, she hopes by temporarily stopping new permits, the city can assess, and determine the best ways to regulate the properties.

Allen is also encouraging Metro to increase the staff at the city codes department to help better regulate the properties, and shut down properties that have caused frequent problems.

The proposed amendment would not impact property owners who already have permits, or people who live in the property that they occasionally rent to guests.

Allen estimated there are around two thousand short term rental properties with permits in Nashville, and two-thirds of them are non-owner occupied.

However, the Beacon Center of Tennessee is calling for the state legislature to get involved in the regulations.  President Justin Owen said the issue comes down to property rights for Nashvillians, and Metro leaders are taking the wrong approach.

“Instead of trying to clarify the law and focus on the real problem, here they are trying to tell even more people not to rent out their homes,” said Owen.  “They are trampling on the property rights of even more people.”

Owen also expressed concerns about the motivation behind the proposed amendment.

“All they are trying to do is limit the number of people who can rent out their homes because it benefits the hotel industry,” said Owen.

The issue will be discussed next at the Feb. 7 Metro Council Meeting.