Nashville Is At It Again
BY JUSTIN OWEN
Nashville is at it again. In a move more akin to something you’d see in Venezuela, the city council has banned people from homesharing. Since 2015, the city has given out permits for people to rent out their homes on a short-term basis and collected taxes on it. Prior to that, the practice was legal and unregulated. But now, the city has reneged. Going forward, homesharing hosts who don’t live in their homes full-time will be completely shut down.
Think about this. At least a thousand homeowners made investment decisions based off the city’s position that homesharing was legal. They complied with the law, got their permit, and paid their taxes. And now the city is going to yank the rug out from under them. It’s unconscionable.
Supporters of homesharing offered numerous reasonable solutions to address credible concerns about noise, nuisances, and other neighborhood issues. The hotel industry lobby and radical activists convinced the council to cave and ignore those reasonable solutions and refuse to compromise.
Setting aside the legal ramifications of its unconstitutional action (of which there are many), now is the time for the state legislature to intervene. Last year, the Tennessee House of Representatives passed a bill that would prevent Nashville from banning homesharing. After city leaders indicated that they would back off such drastic measures, the Senate pumped the breaks on the bill. Now, those city leaders have outright taunted and tried to embarrass the legislature. They’ve shown a brazen disregard for the rule of law or the legislature’s concerns.
The legislature should curb this drastic violation of property rights. Cities should be allowed to reasonably regulate homesharing, but when a city does what Nashville has done, its actions should not be allowed to stand.