Thursday, February 1, 2018

Short-term rentals in Metro Nashville

As you are likely aware, Metro Council finally passed the amendments to its Short Term Rental Properties provisions, by way of Ordinance 2017-608. It’s a complicated bill, and I won’t try to cover all the ins and outs, but the most important change is that short-term rental properties which are not owner-occupied are not permitted in most residential areas. Compare §3 with §4 of the ordinance.

This may generate some questions about the potential non-conforming use of some of the existing non-owner occupied short-term rental properties. There are a number of issues involved in answering those questions, including whether the amendatory ordinance is a zoning ordinance subject to the Tennessee Non-Conforming Property Act ( Tenn. Code Ann. §13-7-208), whether the short-term rental properties would be classified as residential or business use for purposes of the act (if the use of the land is deemed residential, then the act does not apply), and whether the fact that the licenses were issued for only one year at a time would preclude any kind of non-conforming rights.

I’m sure that the will be some litigation about this over the next several years. It may take a while since the act expressly allows for the renewal of permits properly issued and maintained until June 28, 2020. I might add that usually those kinds of amortization provisions within zoning regulations are invalid to the extent that the Tennessee Non-Conforming Property Act is applicable, but in view of the questions about its applicability to these types of uses, that’s another question the court would have to decide.

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