In January, Metro Council approved a set of new regulations for short-term rental properties; these properties are often known as “Airbnbs”, and as most of us know, they are all the rage these days. Every Nashville neighborhood has at least one in its midst, and not everyone is as thrilled with them as our visitors are. Area residents’ dissatisfaction has prompted the powers to regulate these properties to protect those who permanently reside in these neighborhoods from noise, mess, and disorder.
The vote was welcomed by Nashville neighborhood activists, while online companies such as Airbnb and HomeAway were not so pleased. Short-term rental hosts were not thrilled, either.
But the newly approved ordinance doesn’t ban all such rentals in the city; its main focus is on one particular type – those owned by investors that are located in residential zones. These types of rentals have come under heavy criticism in many areas, not just Music City, as these can create party house scenarios when the owner isn’t around to police the guests, and that is never a plus for any neighborhood.
These types of short-term rentals will be phased out of residential areas in less than three years, with a final phase-out date of June 28, 2020. Up until that time, non-owner-occupied properties will continue to be able to renew their permits and operate. Properties owned by corporations will have trouble going forward, as the short-term rentals are specifically designated as those owned by a “natural person or person(s)”.
Some see this as a compromise with the short-term rental companies, but the companies have said that they were given no say in the process.
Nashville is not alone in passing this ordinance; several area townships don’t allow these types of rentals at all! Towns such as Brentwood, Germantown, Belle Meade, and Berry Hill completely disallow short-term rentals.
But the battle rages on. The Tennessee legislature has drafted a bill that would overturn Metro’s action. This bill, which Airbnb pushed, passed the House in 2017, and now just needs the Senate’s approval.
Music City is far and away the most lucrative of all Tennessee cities when it comes to tourism dollars, so many eyes are upon us to see where this ends. Airbnb is raising funds for the fight, while area neighborhood activists are continuing to speak out. We can only hope that the end result is a set of regulations that will be good for everyone in our town.