Nashville council pushes back short-term rental phase-out ordinance to Fall

Last updated on November 9th, 2018 at 05:26 pm

Nashville’s long and winding road to create new regulations over short-term rental properties, including a potential phase-out of the most controversial type of short-term renting, will extend even longer.

The Metro Council on Tuesday voted to defer hotly contested short-term rental legislation to its Oct. 3 meeting.

This is because Vice Mayor David Briley has convened a five-member ad hoc committee to investigate short-term rentals further and propose potential recommendations to the pending bill, perhaps rewriting the bill. He’s set a Sept. 30 deadline for the group to conclude its work.

The bill, whose lead sponsor is Councilman Larry Hagar, as currently written would eliminate non-owner-occupied short-term rentals over three years. This is the type of short-term renting where a property-owner does not live in the home being rented out.

Critics of Airbnb and other short-term rental companies have said non-owner-occupied short-term rentals, often used by investors, has turned residential homes into party hotels.

Metro has struggled to enforce existing short-term rental regulations.

When the ordinance came up for a third and final vote at Tuesday’s meeting, Briley asked Hagar, a short-term rental critic, whether he would be making the motion to defer.

Hagar responded with one word: “Reluctantly.”

Some council members (in search of a compromise with the short-term rental industry, including the companies Airbnb and HomeAway) are expected to explore rewriting the bill so it will no longer ban any type of short-term renting, including non-owner-occupied types from residential neighborhoods.

That’s because Tennessee Republican lawmakers have threatened to overturn any type of ban on short-term renting when the legislature convenes in January. A bill that would have blocked a ban in Nashville advanced in the House this year, but stalled in the Senate.
Airbnb and other short-term rental advocates have made clear they will fight any type of ban, even if it affects only one type of short-term renting in residential neighborhoods.

In a shift away from a phase-out, Briley has said that he believes the “only realistic way” for Nashville to regulate short-term rentals is for Metro to reach an agreement on data sharing and enforcement with Airbnb, HomeAway and other short-term rental companies.