NASTRA’s Statement to Planning Commission

Below is the official statement from NASTRA, which was read by one of our Board Members at the Planning Commission public hearing on Thursday, January 16, 2020.

Good evening, Planning Commissioners.

Thank you for your service to our community and for taking the time to listen to us once again. I am here tonight on behalf of the Nashville Area Short Term Rental Association, our 250+ members, and myself—a born and raised Nashvillian, your neighbor, and a host. We would like to share our opposition to the 3 newly proposed short term rentals bills: BL2019-78, -79 and -111, and to ask you to vote no on these bills.

Based on constructive feedback our organization has received about the negativity and length associated with these hearings, we will do our best to keep our points concise and respect your time while still letting our voices be heard and exercising our right to publicly voice opposition. In an effort to best demonstrate this, I would like to ask those in the audience who are in opposition to these bills to please quietly raise their hand now. 

On behalf of our members and as advocates for the host community, we’d like to share our top concerns about each bill.

BL2019-111: We understand and support the need for high density, affordable housing, however there are alternatives to creating an entirely new layer of zoning specifically targeting short-term rentals. One example could be to provide builder incentives to build affordable housing — much like the city has done in the past to provide incentives to hotels to build here. This bill does not address affordable housing. Instead, it opens the door for properties, streets, and neighborhoods to be rezoned to eliminate one specific use: short-term rentals. If this passes, it is easily foreseeable that any council member or Nashville citizen would be able to apply for a downzoning of our homes or streets. This is grievously concerning on many levels.

BL2019-79: This bill was introduced by its sponsor as a solution to “party homes.” We recognize that there are problem homes which need to be addressed. However, as the data shows that 99.8% of calls to Codes and police are NOT tied to permitted short term rentals, let’s work together to identify a solution that would better support our Codes Department on enforcement of bad actors. For starters, prioritizing regulation enforcement against the 1,200+ STRs operating illegally would result in a nearly 20% drop in the number of homes being rented in Nashville. That is a far more effective solution to “party homes” than another new bill that will likely remain unenforced against the true bad actors. 

When lawfully permitted hosts rent out their basements, DADUs, or portions of their primary home that have a separate entrance to the guests’ space, these are listed as “whole home” options on short-term rental platforms, as the guests’ rental area is completely private. Banning whole home rentals will flag these legitimate owner-occupied scenarios that are, in fact, lawful. It would also limit those who rent their whole homes while traveling, which includes musicians, educators, medical professionals, military, and so many more. For many people, this would impact their ability to afford keeping their home here in Nashville.

BL2019-78: The sponsor of this bill referred to comments made at public hearings about the nature of activity happening at non-owner occupied short term rentals. However, at those same hearings there were often as many if not more people sharing stories of the complete opposite nature. A large majority of short term rentals are self-monitored with security cameras, noise monitoring software, and more. This contributes to the fact that while short term rentals make up 1.8% of housing in Davidson County, they only represent 0.2% of complaints to Codes and police. The data has continually shown that there are actually less issues tied to short term rentals than other types of housing in Davidson County. For this reason, we feel the 100-ft rule is completely unnecessary.

While I could certainly share many other reasons these bills should not pass, these are the main ones. I will leave it to those behind me to share more if they so desire.

In closing, I would like to remind you that while we are hosts, we, too, are Nashvillians, and we, too, are your neighbors. We respectfully ask that you vote NO on bills -111, -78, and -79. Thank you for your time.

Read the outcome of the Planning Commission hearing here »

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