Whole-Home Vacation Rentals are part of Nashville’s DNA

As “Music City,” Nashville has for decades attracted visitors to the city to experience its unique culture, charm, and unmatched music scene. Whole-home vacation rentals have always been a part of this equation, providing affordable accommodations for traveling families and allowing Nashville homeowners and businesses to reap the benefits of increased economic activity.

Unfortunately, a proposal being considered by Nashville’s Metro Council discounts the positive benefits short-term rental properties (STRPs) have long contributed to the Nashville community.

Bill 608 eliminates the opportunity for property owners with a vacation home to provide lodging to families that want to stay together under one roof. It ignores homeowners’ property rights and adversely affects travelers and Nashville’s economy.

For generations, Nashville has seen benefits from whole-home vacation rentals, and the city would lose out if the Metro Council were to ban them tomorrow night. Here’s why:

  • Whole-home vacation rentals provide additional accommodations for families, making it easier for travelers to find lodging that works for them. Whole-home rentals give travelers a place to stay together under one roof. Moreover, these rentals help Nashville meet the growing demand for lodging as guests are arriving to the city faster than hotel lodging can accommodate.
  • Traditional vacation rentals have provided homeowners with a critical source of income for decades. Many homeowners have invested in a vacation property, and the income they earn through the short-term rental industry helps them pay their mortgages, keep their houses up-to-date, and invest in important life milestones like paying for their child’s college tuition. Taking away this vital source of income threatens homeowners’ investments, as well as their property rights.
  • STRPs strengthen the Nashville economy. A recent study showed STRPs are responsible for more than $477 million in economic activity and have supported over 5,000 local jobs. While they make up less than 1 percent of Nashville’s housing stock, whole-home vacation rentals are a critical piece to this economic activity and ultimately benefit Nashville’s residents and local businesses.
  • STRPs contribute to the Barnes Fund for Affordable Housing. Since Metro began taxing STRPs in 2014, more than $620,000 has gone into the trust fund.
While some opponents say STRPs have allowed for commercial “investment properties,” the fact is 92 percent of HomeAway’s homeowners only rent one to two homes in Nashville, and for an average time around one-fourth of the year. These are not commercial hotels. These are homes being rented by visitors, 70 percent of whom are families and with an average age of 55 years old.

Moreover, these homeowners are the most responsible renters. Having invested in this residence, whether its their primary or secondary, whole-home rental owners have a stake in their communities and value positive relationships with their neighbors.

This means they are especially attentive to nuisance issues like noise and parking, and ensure issues are addressed and the home and neighborhood are respected. Regulation that makes these traditional vacation rentals illegal hurts the most responsible renter, and in effect, the Nashville community.

All a ban would accomplish is to rob the city of critical revenue and harm the responsible renters who’ve operated in the city for decades.

HomeAway supports fair and effective regulations that allow STRPs, including the many that are whole-homes, to operate legally in the city. Together with policymakers, homeowners, and community members, we can find a solution that works for all groups and ensures Nashville continues to reap the benefits of this industry.