Nashville is experiencing a significant increase in tourism. As reported by the Tennessean on January 25, 2018, “the Nashville area set another record for annual visitors in 2017, bringing in 14.5 million people and reaching a new high mark for hotel rooms sold.” While traditional hotel stays have been the staple of tourism for Nashville and most US cities, short-term rental services like Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO have increased in popularity as a means of vacationing in a comfortable and private environment. Short-term rentals have become the desired method of traveling for a large portion of the population and it is only growing. Short-term rentals also provide a way for Nashville residents to gain income from their properties located near popular attractions. However, Nashville and other local governments have enacted zoning regulations that limit the potential gain of residents in renting short-term.
Freeman & Fuson has spent the last decade practicing in the area of land use and zoning. Michael Wrenn, Associate at F&F, devotes a large portion of time to pursuing cases and litigating in this highly specialized area. Mr. Wrenn has seen many of the problems with the increased local zoning regulations and keeps apprised of the regular changes made in this area.
While owning a short-term rental can be very profitable, the following is what you need to know before you use your property as a short-term rental unit:
· You must first obtain a permit from the Codes Administration. The Codes Administration website details how to do so here.
· If you are found by the Codes Administration to be operating a short-term rental unit without a permit, you can be prohibited from obtaining a permit on the property for three years.
· A valid permit may be revoked if the Codes Administration cites you for three violations of the local zoning regulations; the revocation of a valid permit can result in no new permit being available for the property for one year.
· You have the right to appeal a decision from the Codes Administration to either prohibit your property from being eligible for a permit or to revoke an existing permit. This appeal would be to the Board of Zoning Appeals.
The process for obtaining a short-term rental permit in Nashville can be frustrating, but it is important to obtain one so that you can maximize the revenue you can make on your property. If you operate a short-term rental property and have been denied a permit, have been found by the Codes Administration to operate a short-term rental without a permit, or have had your permit revoked, contact an experienced land use and zoning attorney to represent you.
Michael A. Wrenn, Attorney and Trey Woodall, Belmont Law Student