The Short Term Rental Properties Bill, Senate Bill 1086, was recommended for passage yesterday by the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee, 8 to 1. There is an interesting video of the sponsor of the bill here. As you might suspect, the emphasis is on the property rights of the unit owners during the sponsor's presentation. Interestingly, Sen. Stevens discusses the bill in terms of grandfathered uses. The bill actually looks more like a regulatory scheme rather than a non-conforming use bill. Further, with regard to non-conforming uses, it would probably be better to link it to the Tennessee Non-Conforming Property Act,Tenn. Code Ann. §13-7-208, if that's the intent. I looked back quickly through the bill and didn't see any reference to the TNCPA.
In addition, the bill which is on the website does not appear to be the latest version, at least not the latest one that I’ve seen.
It is also worth noting that there is a provision in the bill for judicial remedies which allows the unit owner to appeal to the board of zoning appeals if the permit is revoked or if there is a refusal by the local government to issue or renew a permit. The interesting part is that an appeal from the board of zoning appeals to Circuit Court or Chancery Court is de novo instead of on the record from the board of zoning appeals. There is certainly a constitutional issue there. Generally speaking, courts of law may not review administrative decisions as though the court was making a decision in the first instance, because it’s a violation of the separation of powers doctrine. The Tennessee courts have long recognized that distinction and therefore whether judicial review pursuant to this statutory provision is constitutionally permissible is certainly open to question.
In any event, it will be interesting moving forward to see how the bill progresses.