Metro Council To Take More Time So Short-Term Rental Rules 'Stick'

May 16, 2017

The Metro Council plans to take more time on new regulations for Airbnbs and other short-term rentals. Sponsors say they don't want to pass a measure that is destined to be overturned by the state legislature.

The big sticking point is an attempt to phase out the increasingly common practice of investors running multiple homes as short-term rentals. Neighbors often see them as a nuisance and have come to calling them "mini hotels."

There may be enough support in the council to pass such a restriction. But, the Republican-dominated state legislature has been more sympathetic to the short-term rental companies and made clear it doesn't like the idea of barring investor-owned units. State legislation that would have trumped any new short-term rental regulations in Nashville passed only one chamber but could easily be revived next year.

For that reason, sponsors of the investor-owned phase-out say they're going to take an extra month or two to refine their proposal, pushing a final vote to at least July.

"Whatever we do here, we'd really like for it to stick and for the state legislature to not redo what we do," Councilman Kevin Rhoten says. "Our goal is to do it right so we're not back here next year."

The Metro Council is expected to approve the new rules for investor-owned Airbnbs on the second of three readings Tuesday night. But a lot could change before the final vote. Councilman Larry Hagar says there could even be another public hearing on his bill before then. He says he's trying to balance the strong pushback from neighbors and still appease the short-term rental companies, who have lobbied hard against the phase-out.

"They do provide a needed segment for tourism in Nashville," Hagar says. "We've tried enforcement, and it has not worked out very well."

Hagar says he wants to work with companies like Airbnb and Homeaway. "But they have to work with me," he says.                   

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