Nashville Police Chief Weighs In On Short Term Rentals

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - In a three page letter to Metro Council Members, Police Chief Steve Anderson gave his opinion on short term rentals in Nashville.

There are two bills up for vote Tuesday that could change the way short term rentals, operated through Air BnB and other groups, operate. One is ordinance 608, which calls for the phasing out of "Short term rental property - Not Owner occupied" be phased out of Nashville residential neighborhoods by 2021. Ordinance 937 deals more with the amount and radius of short term rental property, proponents of short term rentals say this ordinance is less restrictive.

Chief Anderson said he doesn't have opinions on either bill, but had some insight into the issues faced by people living in neighborhoods with short term rentals.

"Certainly, I did not foresee the significant community divide that this issue has created," said Anderson. Anderson went on to say that increased police attention on short term rentals may not solve issues some residents have experienced. Many times, the nuisance of loud renters does not rise to the level of criminal activity. So, the police may not be able to make a difference.

The statement received mixed response from either side of the issue.

"We simply cannot enforce them," said John Summers of Coalition for Nashville Neighborhoods. "Even if you gave him the additional police officers. They have other duties they really need to respond to that are a greater priority. You catch these things after the fact. So, you've already had the bad behavior, it's already impacted the quality of your life, then you call the police."

On the other side, Megan McCrea said the Metro Council should make decisions based off statistical data and not the emotions of neighbors who are against short term rentals.

"[In 2016] There were just over 900 complaints tied to [short term rentals]," said McCrea. "When you do the math on that, that's less than one percent of all complaints during the time period. That's not even proportionate to the numbers we make up."

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