The first Airbnb-Niido apartment complex is opening soon in Nashville and many residents of the Olmsted Nashville aren’t happy.
The Olmsted apartments downtown are set to be renamed Niido Powered by Airbnb later this Summer, but hundreds want to try and stop the transition.
Residents of the Olmsted were notified of the news Friday in an email. Many said they feel blindsided by the change in ownership and don’t want their apartments or the ones around them to become Airbnbs.
“This is coming as a big surprise and in some cases shock to the people who have been at the Olmsted because of the expectation of not having short-term rentals here,” Councilman Freddie O’Connell told News 2.
He said he has heard a number of complaints.
“I’m completely shell-shocked honestly,” said Ruth Gonzalez.
She says she was one of the first 50 tenants to move into the Olmsted in the Sobro area in January.
“It’s not something that I want to participate in,” she explained.
Now eight months later, Gonzalez says she has no choice but to pack up and move again if she can get out of her 14-month lease.
“I just don’t want to be there anymore. My personal option would be to try and get out as soon as possible.”
A change.org petition states, “protect our home from becoming a frat house.”
It goes on to explain that at move-in, tenants questioned the current management and leasing agents about short-term rentals inside the complex and the answer was an explicit no. The sentiment was also shared by the binding lease each resident was required to sign.
“We specifically have a clause in that legal document that says no short-term rentals and it actually includes Airbnb specifically listed,” Gonzalez explained.
In addition to the concerns that come with potential party-minded visitors; like noise and trash, residence like Gonzalez are primarily worried about safety.
“This is a new model, it’s not tested. I personally don’t want to be a guinea pig to see a potential accident happen,” she said.
Short term rental issues have been a constant battle for O’Connell.
“There are people in this building that have literally left other urban apartments because of too much short-term rental activity and so now we are watching this entire building turned over into an operation whose entire purpose is short-term rentals and I know that is going to be a struggle for a lot of my constituents,” he explained.
He said the move also brings up concerns about affordable housing for Nashvillians.
“We need more housing in Nashville, particularly even if it’s in the realm of affordable and so if we watch even a portion of these units turn over and they are no longer residences or the people that are here don’t want to be in this kind of context and they are displaced well
now the question is not just about where the space is for people visiting Nashville, the real question is where is the space for Nashvillians.”
It appears in the email that was sent to residents that the 328-unit apartment complex will be a hybrid, where each individual can decide if they want to rent out their unit or not.
We reached out to Niido and the Olmsted but have yet to hear back.
News 2 is reporting on Nashville’s historic growth and the growing pains that come with it. Go to wkrn.com/nashville-2018 for more coverage.