NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The push to control home sharing in Nashville continues — this time in the General Assembly.
State lawmakers are considering a bill that would overrule some local regulations on short-term rentals.
They can be a nuisance for communities and neighbors, but they also generate big-time revenue.
New data shows the company collected and remitted more than $92,000,000 to Tennessee in 2021, an increase of roughly 185% over 2019.
Last year, in addition to the state’s sales taxes, Airbnb began collecting local occupancy taxes on behalf of hosts in jurisdictions across the state.
“Some of that was in urban areas, but as we look at a state like Tennessee, a lot of that came from areas that was more rural so really spreading the economic impact of tourism across the state,” said Viviana Jordan of Airbnb’s Public Policy Team.
The two highest-grossing counties — Davidson and Sevier — collected $34,000,000 and $33,000,000 in taxes, respectively.
“We’re so proud of this work,” Jordan said, adding that more needs to be done, referencing a bill that’s currently being reviewed by state lawmakers. “The legislation currently before the general assembly is a method to ensure that Nashvillians have an opportunity to continue to leverage their homes as a source of revenue.”
Under the current law, an unlimited number of short-term rentals is allowed in both Downtown Nashville and the Gulch.
Owner-occupied short-term rentals are allowed elsewhere, unless a parcel or neighborhood is rezoned “NS,” which stands for no short-term rentals.
“That is something that unless the general assembly steps in, Metro Council could continue to do and continue to place this NS overlay over any number of districts or projects, and that is why this legislation is so important because it would protect the right of Nashvillians to use their primary residence as income,” Jordan said.
The bill would broaden the term “owner-occupied,” which those who oppose the bill say would create loopholes and undermine neighborhood protections.
However, more Airbnbs means more money and more tax revenue for Tennessee
“I think it shows the strength of our hospitality industry. I believe that includes the 9.25 sales tax plus 6% hotel tax, so state, city and industry all benefitted, not to mention property taxes that have grown. They need to pay and we need to keep the pressure on to make sure they are good neighbors as well,” Butch Spyridon wrote, CEO of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. “We expect that these numbers will continue to rise as we continue to recover from this pandemic and importantly these are dollars that not only help fund tourism efforts locally but that in Davidson county in particular a portion of these funds go to the Barnes Affordable Housing Trust, which is an important organization in the community.”
The bills fate could be decided next week.