Three new short term rental bills

There are three new short term rental property (STRP) bills filed for first reading next week. I am not the sponsor of any of them. This post is really me thinking out loud in an effort to understand the new bills. I am calling them the residential phase out bill, the one year moratorium bill, and the three year moratorium bill.

There is a lot in common between the bills. All of them assume that BL -492 (which fixes some technical problems raised in a lawsuit) will pass.  All of them allow existing permit holders to continue in business for now. All of them would halt the issuance of new permits for investor-owned short term rentals in residential areas. All of them will go to the Planning Commission. That means the public will have the chance to speak about all three bills twice – once at the Planning Commission, and again at a Council public hearing.

The residential phase out bill would eliminate new permits for investor-owned STRPs in the parts of Nashville that are zoned residential, and phase out all existing investor-owned STRPs in residential areas by 2021. The one year moratorium bill and the three year moratorium bill would stop the issuance of new permits for investor-owned STRPs in residential areas for one year and three years, respectively. To me, the similarities outweigh the differences — in all scenarios, no current owner goes out of business in the near future, and no new investor-owned units will be allowed in a residential neighborhood.

Beyond what they have in common, I am also struck with the continued desperate need for Metro to improve its enforcement capabilities immediately. If any of these bills were to pass, Metro would still need to track down short term rentals operating without a permit. If any of these bills were to pass, Metro would still need to find the owners who are not paying their taxes. If any of these bills were to pass, Metro would still need to create a real-time noise ordinance enforcement ability to protect neighbors from abuses.

These three new bills will take a few months to work their way through the Planning Commission and the Council. My guess is that hundreds of citizens will end up speaking on all sides of these issues. For now, I think that I will probably not take a position until after I hear from the community. While this is happening, I am going to keep saying that, no matter what we do with the regulations, Metro must keep working at improving enforcement efforts. Metro will need to do better with that whether or not any of these bills pass.

Bob Mendes

Bob Mendes represents all of Nashville as a Council-At-Large member of Nashville’s Metro Council. He is Chair of the Council’s Charter Revision Committee, a member of the Metropolitan Audit Committee, and a member of the Council’s Budget & Finance Committee, Rules & Confirmations Committee, and Ad Hoc Affordable Housing Committee. Bob also practices business law at Waypoint Law PLLC. Bob’s complete bio is here. You can follow Bob @mendesbob.