Airbnb Nashville : VRBO and Airbnb Regulations in Nashville

author-thumbnail Grover Collins

BY Grover Collins

Founder & Managing Member

Airbnb Nashville : Regulations

Did you know Nashville is home to some of the strictest short-term rental regulations in the country? If you plan on listing your home on one of the popular home-sharing sites such as VRBO and Airbnb, there are some important things to know. 

Causing the most confusion, the Nashville VRBO and Airbnb regulations are not self-explanatory or necessarily common if you have rented in other cities. Even more, the amount of regulation changes since 2014 is at least 37 changes in just a few years. What this often means for permit holders is constant confusion. It is always a good idea to stay informed or make sure you have a property manager that constantly stays informed. In Nashville, a great organization to follow is the Nashville Area Short Term Rental Association, or NASTRA

While this is not an exhaustive list of everything you need to know, we’ve complied the big points that most people overlook when starting out. Here’s what to know for your Airbnb Nashville: 

First, you must have a permit to advertise or operate an Airbnb.

This means that even if you plan on getting a permit but you want to list the property to gauge interest, you are violating the Metro Ordinance. This is a common mistake for VRBO or Airbnb hosts and the fastest way to land you with a citation in the Metro Environmental Court. The application for a short term rental permit is laid out on the metro website. You can access the information here.  If you want help to obtain a permit, contact our team of experienced Short Term Rental and property lawyers

Second, you must renew your Airbnb permit every year.

While many people have already secured a permit, many forget to renew. Metro Nashville has been bombarded in recent months with Airbnb and VRBO owners who did not realize their permit was only valid for one year. Moreover, the Metro Department of Codes is not required to send you notice to renew… you must manage this yourself. We have found that many Airbnb operators prefer to hire a Nashville real estate attorney to handle this crucial step. If you don’t want an attorney, make sure you give yourself plenty of warning to renew the permit. In recent years, the Metro Codes department will give a permit holder a 30 day grace period. While this grace period isn’t in the code it is a practice that Metro is currently practicing. 

Third, a Metro Code violation may be subject to a monetary fine.

This is a big deal. If you garner three strikes or more against your property, your permit is subject to revocation. Even permits grandfathered by the Tennessee Legislature can be revoked upon receipt of three or more strikes. If you want to know more about what constitutes a strike, it’s best to read the Metro code and stay current. Furthermore, if you receive a notice about a strike, be prepared to fight it. You can always appeal the decision of the Zoning Administrator of the Property Standards inspector of what is a violation. 

Fourth, Metro now regulates Short Term Rental through an STR board that is separate from the Board of Zoning appeals.

In April of 2021, Metro held the first STR Board hearing appeals that normally would have gone to the Board of Zoning Appeals of the BZA. Currently, councilman Sean Parker is on the STR Board. From what we’ve learned so far, the STR board is much less forgiving than the BZA ever was. Hopefully this stance will change but that is yet to happen. We continue to fight to ease the penalties this board is handing out. 

Finally, know the rules are constantly changing for Short Term Rentals.

The Metro council has been aggressive in combating a perceived problem with  VRBO and Airbnb hosts. Metro has changed the ordinances regulating short term rentals more than a dozen times in the last twelve months. With the quickly changing state and local laws, you must stay vigilant and up to date with the changes. Metro often shows little mercy for someone not knowing the law. We’ve seen many permits revoked because the host simply did not know!

If you plan on maintaining rentals in Nashville on VRBO, Airbnb or any other home-sharing site, make sure you keep these tips in mind. It’s better to contact us before you get a notice of violation from Metro Codes. 

Contact a Nashville real estate attorney today

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