Thom Druffel’s Statement on Short-Term Rentals
Short-Term Rentals have become increasingly popular within our communities and are causing consistent stress on our neighborhoods. Online booking tools such as Airbnb, HomeAway, VRBO, etc. have allowed those looking to come to Nashville to stay in places that have more of an at home-feel to them rather than a hotel room while at the same time allowing those looking to make some more money to rent out their personal spaces. Both local property owners and out of the area owners have realized the money to made with these rentals. Unfortunately, this is another example of Nashville experiencing growth without making plans for the unintended consequences of the growth. Bringing in short term renters impacts the property owners around the rentals. Lack of regulations and manpower has left neighborhoods and permit holders struggling to find a common ground to move forward.
The current STR situation:
In 2018, 2,188 permits were issued for STRs in and around Nashville Metro. These include both owner-occupied and non-owner-occupied rentals.
60.1% of these STRs are coming from people who listing multiple properties for rent and typically do not live in these properties otherwise.
There are only 2 inspectors employed by Metro who are targeting the problems that occur from STRs, such as host compliance, and complaints filed by residents who deal with the noise, parking, trash and other issues that arise from living near STRs.
In Feb, Metro PD reported being understaffed by 108 officers and so they do not have the manpower to respond to complaints of disorderly tenants.
Metro Nashville Police Department and Fire Department have continued to have their overtime payments increase as they continue to be understaffed while working within a lean Metro government budget.
At the same time, those who run STRs need to be working with our local communities hand-in- hand to ensure that a constant turnover of tourists does not disrupt the quality of life of our neighborhoods. Our families and permanent residents who reside here full time deserve to have their communities respected and maintained in peak condition. These neighborhoods are for families to live, work, and thrive, and that’s how they should remain before, during, and after this issue is resolved.
In 2014, Metro Council decided to act and put together some policy and enforcement standards, BL2014-951, which was passed in February 2015. Since its enactment, there has been no feasible way to enforce the regulations that this policy piece outlined in order to help wrangle in the issues that those who live near STRs encounter. This issue isn’t just due to the over-arching amount of STRs in Nashville, but also the resources, under-funding and under- staffing of those who do the enforcing, such as police and fire.
Property owners who obtained permits lawfully under the Metro Code also have rights that need to be respected.
Bill BL2019-1633, which is being considered for Residential Multi-family (RM) properties, includes some conditions to stop issuance of non-owner occupied STR permits, allow applicants already underway to obtain permits as to avoid litigation with Metro Nashville, and stopping the issuance of new permits after the cut-off deadline in October. The bill also prohibits the re- issuance of a permit once it has been revoked for multiple Code violations. Currently a permit is issued to a property owner and expires when properties are sold, but the big concern is that the bill (BL2019-1633) would allow the permit to be transferred with the property when the property is sold.
Nashvillian’s have the right to live in peaceful, clean communities that they intend to live in long-term. Until all these factors, such as those who enforce the rules and those who operate these STRs can be addressed, we need to work together in unity to ensure that this business is not causing disturbances within our neighborhoods. We do not have the capacity to truly handle the issues that come with STRs operating in the Metro area, and as it stands, we continue to stretch our city’s abilities and services beyond that which it can handle.