County takes aim at Airbnb-style rentals

Xavier Smith • Mar 21, 2018 at 2:45 PM

The Wilson County Commission approved an amendment to its zoning regulations Monday that effectively treat short-term residential rentals like bed-and-breakfast establishments.

The change would require property owners who rent their properties for short-term use – less than 30 days – to follow similar guidelines as bed-and-breakfast facilities. The change applies to Airbnb, VRBO and other similar rental services.

Through Airbnb and similar services, people can list, find and rent properties for set periods of time for a fraction of the price of most hotels. Typically, renters can rent rooms at the property rather than the entire estate.   

Those properties must have an on-site caretaker or on a premises within 10 miles of the facility, as well as contact information for the property owner or caretaker.

The facilities must also submit the information to the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, building inspector’s office and Wilson County Emergency Management Agency.

Wilson County District 18 Commissioner Terry Muncher said he supported the change due to the presence of short-term property rentals in his district. Muncher said he typically gets a call every week about the establishments and could name a list of problems he’s encountered.

“One young couple brought to my attention – and I’d never thought of it. He said, ‘I have a 12-year-old daughter, and weekend to weekend, I never know who is going to be next door.’ That’s scary. I’m a parent, and that scares me,” Muncher said.

Muncher said he believes there should be more accountability for property owners who rent their properties on a short-term basis.

“I think this is a good step in the right direction,” he said.

Wilson County Planning Department officials also discussed provisions relative to Airbnb and similar rentals in 2016 regarding noise.

Wilson County Planning Director Tom Brashear said noise complaints had increased around the time of discussion, particularly with vacation rental homes and Airbnb-style facilities.

Brashear said many of the county’s Airbnb-style properties are near the lakes, which attract people who may have business in Nashville, participate in local sporting events or want a vacation. 

“I’d say, and this isn’t based on any hard statistics, that 95-98 percent of those properties never have a problem,” Brashear said in 2016, noting the short-term rental properties attract people for house and bachelor parties, as well as travel baseball teams. He said people could rent the property while in the area for the Country Music Association Festival, for example.

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