The Personal Side of Homesharing
BY JOEL DELABRE
Last week I saw the ocean for the first time. People are so shocked when I tell them that, but it’s true. My family never had a ton of money while I was growing up and vacations simply weren’t a real option. I’ve wanted to see the ocean for years but hotels are so expensive and when you pair that with the costs of travel and activities once you get there, it was just too much. At least that was the case for me until one of my friends decided to take a look at Airbnb recently. She found a beautiful seventh-floor condo with a balcony overlooking the ocean. A few friends and I split the cost and stayed for seven nights at the short-term rental, and each of us paid less than $200 for the whole week! I could finally afford to fulfill one of my dreams.
Nashville is a beautiful, fun, and vibrant place, and I encounter people all the time who talk about how much they want to visit. Many of them are like me and can’t afford to stay in traditional hotels that are either really expensive or too far away to be practical. Nashville’s ban on homesharing eliminates one of the most viable ways for people to visit and experience our community at an affordable price. There are people who dream of visiting Nashville the way I once dreamt of visiting the ocean. When affordable alternatives to hotels exist that benefit the city, the people providing the space, and the individuals who want to travel here, it is simply irresponsible and honestly just mean-spirited to ban these businesses. This model of governing doesn’t fit in with the Nashville I know.
The biggest argument I have heard against homesharing is that it is disruptive to otherwise quiet and peaceful neighborhoods. Frankly, any neighbor can create that disruption. You don’t get to choose your neighbors, but with homesharing, if you don’t like your neighbors, they’re gone quickly. More notably, less than two-tenths of one percent of all complaints against properties were made against short-term rentals in Nashville. Why are we punishing everyone instead of simply shutting down the few bad actors? There are better ways of regulating homesharing that allow for more people to visit our beautiful city while also protecting the property rights of Nashvillians. Let’s try those methods instead.