Nashville Has Poked the Bear on Homesharing


May 2, 2017 9:13AM

There was a bill moving through the state legislature this year that would have preempted local governments’ ability to regulate homesharing on services like Airbnb and VRBO. Beacon supported these efforts. While leaving things up to local governments is often the best solution, when those locals trample on our constitutional rights, it’s time for the state to step in and act.

Nashville in particular seemed to get the hint, refraining for awhile from pursuing more hostile measures to limit homesharing. But it appears the city was just waiting for the bear to go into hibernation. The bill was watered down to strip out any preemption of local regulations on homesharing. Instead, it amounted to nothing more than a tax bill to streamline tax collections from these services. With the legislative session ticking down and efforts to rein in cities’ homesharing regulations seemingly at bay, Nashville struck.

Last week, the Metro Planning Commission (chaired by the chief lobbyist for the hotel industry no less) passed an ordinance that will rip the rug out from under those renting their homes short-term if they don’t live in the home. Thousands of Nashvillians have bought homes or kept their home after buying a new one, expecting to be able to rent the home on Airbnb or a similar site. They made this decision after the city told them this activity was legal. Now, if the proposed ordinance passes the Metro Council, those homeowners will have their permit stripped away in 2019 and will be banned from participating in the homesharing economy.

This egregious violation of property rights should not go unpunished. Local governments should not be able to tell someone he or she can do something, and then strip that right away once that person invests money and time in that endeavor. Nashville has proven that it cannot be trusted to balance average citizens’ property rights against neighbors’ quiet enjoyment of their property. It is only interested in protecting the hotel industry’s bottom line. Only the legislature can step in and fix this mess.

Nashville has poked the bear. It’s time for that bear to wake up and eat its dinner.

To read about the role the hotel lobby is playing in the opposition to homesharing, click here.

To see what would happen if Nashville banned homesharing, click here.