Over nearly 2 years, hundreds of complaints filed on short-term rentals

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Metro Codes Administration says it received complaints for 374 short-term rental properties over 22 months between April 2015 and February 2017.

There are permits for over 2,500 short-term rental properties in Davidson County.

Short-term rental properties are homes owners rent for a few days up to weeks at a time using websites like AirBNB and HomeAway.

Most of the complaints were for owners operating AirBNBs without a permit or for advertising over the legal limit.

The rules in Davidson County include an occupancy limit; a home can’t have more than twelve people staying overnight at a time. The owner also must have a permit.

News 2 sat down with the Assistant Director of Metro’s Property Standards Division, Bill Penn, to discuss the complaints.

He says problematic short-term rentals are the exception, not the rule.

“You’re going to have people who are going to do the right thing and you’re going to have people who will do the wrong thing,” said Penn. “We have to understand that if there were no money to be made there wouldn’t be a problem.”

He believes there are complaints that haven’t been reported or properly recorded by his department and says the Metro Codes division, which oversees short-term rentals, is understaffed.

Penn says they’re hiring five more inspectors and they have new equipment, which should help with enforcement.

“I think a combination of all of that is really going to be helpful,” he said. “But you really need to give all of that time to play out to see whether or not it’s adequate.”

But there are homeowners who say they take issue with the concept of certain short-term rentals. There are investors who will buy properties in residential neighborhoods to rent them on websites like AirBNB and HomeAway.

Omid Yamini says he’s surrounded by such properties.

“Last Sunday, I looked to my left and the only people I see are five or six guys loading their suitcases outside of my neighbor’s house,” he told News 2. “It’s a hotel basically down the street from us. An unsupervised, self-service mini-hotel.”

Yamini also lives near an illegal AirBNB. The homeowner advertises for 16 people, which is over the limit, and operates without a permit. He says he complained to Metro Codes but nothing happened.

He’s concerned with enforcement but he says he’s more concerned with the changing landscape of his neighborhood.

“Beyond the enforcement issue is the fact that these investor-owned STRs are coming in and taking neighbors out of neighborhoods,” Yamini said. “They’re putting commercial businesses where there used to be neighbors.”

State lawmakers will discuss potential regulations surrounding short-term rental properties Tuesday.

The General Assembly is stepping in as the debate continues in Metro City Council chambers. Metro’s Planning Department will also discuss the city-wide regulations on Thursday.