Nashville Airbnb fans, foes collide at Metro Council

NASHVILLE, Tenn.– Neighborhood activists in Nashville thronged a public hearing Tuesday where they argued that property owners who rent out homes in that city through websites such as Airbnb are driving up rents and filling residential areas with party houses.

The activists squared off against short-term rental hosts during a lively two-hour debate before the Metro Council on proposed regulations for short-term rental properties designed to replace an ordinance ruled unconstitutional in October, The Tennessean reported.

Wearing T-shirts reading “Nashville’s neighborhoods: Homes. Not Hotels,” activists urged the council to amend the bill to outlaw non-owner-occupied short-term rental properties.

Such properties are frequently owned by investors.

“We purchased homes to live in residential areas, not commercial ones,” said Tom Hardin, who lives in East Nashville near two non-owner-occupied short-term rental properties. “Out-of-town vacationers are not neighbors. They come to play. They do not come to contribute to the development of stable, safe neighborhoods.”
At the hearing, short-term rental hosts pledged support for the revised ordinance as written, which addresses issues Davidson County Circuit Judge Kelvin Jones raised on the law’s vagueness but does not change the scope of the regulations.

The revisions would include caps on the number of guests allowed, short-term rentals per neighborhood and tax requirements.

Supporters of the rentals said they aren’t against all regulations but argued they shouldn’t be stopped altogether from making a living.