Short term rentals have real impact on Antioch

This map shows the locations and prices of short term rental properties in Antioch, as listed on Airbnb.

This map shows the locations and prices of short term rental properties in Antioch, as listed on Airbnb.

There’s been a lot of talk about short-term rental properties in Nashville, and yes, the back and forth, laws and rulings have a direct impact on Antioch.

A short-term rental property is simply a furnished property – usually a house, townhome, or condo – that the owner rents to visitors on a weekly or even nightly basis. They are marketed through sites such as Airbnb.com and often offer more affordable alternatives to traditional hotels.

The enclosed map shows a search on Airbnb.com for 37013 – Antioch’s zip code. It produced a number of properties available ranging from as low as $37 per night to as much as $145 per night, all in Antioch.

While it might seem such rental properties – most of which are in residential areas – are limited to the trendier parts of Nashville, they very much impact Antioch and a growing number of our neighbors seeking to earn extra income through short-term rentals. It goes without saying that it also impacts their Antioch neighbors.

The challenge is one I well understand. I should be able to do as I wish with my property, but there is an impact on neighbors’ property too. Could one’s actions (operating a short-term rental property) somehow have an impact on the safety of my neighborhood, property values, etc.?

Earlier the Metro Council passed a bill to place limits on short term rental properties, including placing limits on the number of properties and the number of guests per property. The bill was introduced by at-large Council Member Bob Mendes.

It has been an ongoing issues of contention, and even the Nashville Metro Police Department expressed reluctance to enforce the ordinance.

In October, Judge Kelvin Jones struck down the ordinance, citing it as being unconstitutionally vague. The city Friday issued the following press release in response:

Metro Nashville has filed a motion with Davidson County Circuity Court Judge Kelvin Jones seeking a stay in his decision invalidating Nashville’s Short Term Rental Property (STRP) laws while Metro seeks to address the Judge’s concerns about vagueness in the law through new legislation.

“We believe that the Judge’s concerns about ambiguity in the law can be easily addressed through the passage of an ordinance that will more clearly distinguish STRPs from hotels and other uses associated with short-term rental occupancy,” said Jon Cooper, director of the Metro Law Department. “Our hope is that if the Metro Council passes this revised ordinance, Judge Jones will grant Metro’s prior request for summary judgment and dismiss the case.”

On October 28, Judge Jones issues a written order in Anderson v. Metro stating that Metro’s Short Term Rental Property law, passed in 2015, was “unconstitutionally vague” due to confusion over the differences between STRPs, bed and breakfasts, boarding houses and hotels. The legislation proposed by Metro, and sponsored by Councilmembers Burkley Allen and Bob Mendes, would more clearly define and delineate between hotels, bed and breakfasts, boarding houses and STRPs. Otherwise, the regulations approved previously by the Metro Council, including a 3% cap on STRP permits by census tract, would remain the same.

“Judge Jones denied Beacon’s motions on three out of four claims, which is a victory for those seeking common-sense rules related to short term rental properties,” said Councilmember Allen. “We hope that the minor changes to the ordinance that we are proposing will satisfy the Judge’s concerns about vague language in the law, thus upholding the law as a whole.”

Last month, Mayor Megan Barry commissioned a study of the property standards division in the Metro Codes Department in order to better address quality of life concerns related to STRPs in residential neighborhoods. The recommendations from that report are anticipated to be delivered to Metro near the end of the year.