NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A ban on certain short-term rentals may also extend to apartments.
Forty apartments sit across the street from Shaniqua Hendricks’s North Nashville home. No one lives in them but instead, they’re rented out to tourists on websites and apps like Airbnb and VRBO.
“Every weekend starting probably today, which is Thursday, if there’s anything going on downtown or anything in Nashville, you’ll see cars pulling up,” Hendricks told News 2.
Hendricks lives in public housing near Fisk University. She says the apartments across the street used to be affordable units occupied by mostly black residents. But the apartments shut down a few years ago and now, they cater to mostly white tourists.
“It’s like they’re leaving us out. Where are we to go?” Asked Hendricks.
There is a bill that proposes a ban on any new non-owner occupied short-term rental properties from operating in apartment buildings with Residential Multi-family (RM) zoning.
Non-owner-occupied rental is when an investor buys a property, not to live in it, but to rent it out a few days or weeks at a time.
Last year, Nashville passed a law that banned all non-owner-occupied short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods.
But state lawmakers stepped in and passed a law that overrode Metro’s ordinance to allow those with permits currently to continue to operate.
District 18 Councilperson Burkley Allen wants to extend the same regulations to apartments, condos and townhomes in residential neighborhoods.
“I think it makes sense to draw a line between residential and commercial,” Allen told News 2. “Those who currently have permits we’re allowing those to stay there. But we’re saying in the future, to be short-term you’d have to be owner occupied.”
Allen says her bill is also about affordable housing. She says non-owner-occupied short-term rentals contribute to rising housing costs.
“The city needs to try to be proactive to create conditions where afforable housing can be built. We’re trying to look at all aspects of that and this seems to be one of them,” said Allen.
However, realtor Darin Cunningham told News 2 that investors have purchased and built apartments with RM zoning to operate as short-term rentals.
He said many of those investors purchased those properties for 25% above market value with the intention that they could rent on Airbnb.
“This bill has a plethora of unintended consequences that are going to be financially devastating to the real estate and development community and have a trickle-down effect that’s unmeasurable,” Cunningham told News 2.
Cunningham and other developers and realtors held a meeting Thursday afternoon to question Allen about her bill.
Allen’s bill would also include that when a property owner sold his or her apartment and they had a non-owner occupied short-term rental permit, the permit would be non-transferable.
Cunningham said without the permit, the re-sale value would plummet.
“The people who have purchased these properties were given a playbook as to what they’re allowed to do with this type of zoning. They made massive financial investments based on the rules that were written by Metro. Now, they’re changing the rules that will de-value the price,” Cunningham said.
Cunningham also rebuked the notion that non-owner-occupied short-term rentals harm neighborhoods, including Hendricks’s.
“It has totally redeveloped the area and it brings in tax dollars,” said Cunningham. “It brings business to local businesses that would be otherwise plummeting or not do as well over there.”
However, Hendricks told News 2 that the tourists who stay in the Airbnbs across from her apartment don’t seem to stick around during their visits.
“I see Ubers, Lyfts and I never see anybody walking around,” said Hendricks. “Sometimes they look at us strangely.”
The Metro Planning Commission approved the bill Thursday evening. It will now go in front of Metro Council for a public hearing.