Metro Council holds off on short-term rental phase-out bill

Last updated on November 9th, 2018 at 05:27 pm

The Nashville Metro Council at times seemed on the verge Tuesday of phasing out a controversial type of short-term renting, but it instead held off, narrowly voting to delay the hotly debated proposal until January.

The council voted 19-18, with one abstention, to again defer a long-discussed — and contested — bill that would phase out non-owner-occupied short-term rental properties from residential-zoned neighborhoods over the next three years.
It marked a momentary win for online home-sharing companies like Airbnb and HomeAway, which requested the council to delay the legislation as a faction of council members and the industry work toward a compromise. The Nashville Area Short-term Rental Association, which represents hosts, also sought the delay.

Still, the phase-out proposal remains alive — and some on the council warned they’re ready to approve it next year if substantive action is not soon taken to address neighborhood concerns posed by short-term rentals.

Critics of short-term rentals have alleged the non-owner-occupied variety has turned residential homes in Nashville into disruptive hotels that are often owned by investors.

Several council members who supported the delay made clear they have concerns about non-owner-occupied short-term rentals.
But they raised the prospect of potential intervention from the Republican-dominated Tennessee state legislature, which has preemption legislation already drafted to overturn Metro on the issue.

Most council members who backed the delay cited the ongoing work of the five-member Ad Hoc Committee on short-term rentals. The group has centered its conversations around the enforcement of existing regulations. Metro recently launched a short-term rental hotline, operated by the company Host Compliance, to give people a place to voice their complaints.
Short-term rental companies applauded the council’s delay.

“We’re glad to see the Metro Council defer (the phase-out bill) so the committee can continue its diligent work on finding common ground, and we are committed to being a part of those ongoing discussions,” the company HomeAway said in a statement.
Although the state bill stalled in the Senate, Nashville’s two Republican senators, Sens. Steve Dickerson and Farrell Haile, made clear that the bill could be revived when the legislature reconvenes in January.