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Duplex ordinance enforcement shuts down 150 Nashville short term rentals

Photo: FOX 17 News

You could say they're hidden in plain sight. Short term rentals may not have a clear sign out front, but neighbors know they're there.

If you live in Nashville you've likely seen roller bags going down the street on a Thursday or Friday night as guests arrive for a weekend of fun.

“These are houses that used to be homes with actual families, and now they're hotels,” said Omid Yamini, an East Nashville resident and community activist.

Yamini is among the local homeowners leading the fight against the short term rentals that have gained a reputation for being party houses that draw all kinds of noise, messes, and debauchery, spoiling that friendly neighborhood vibe with unfamiliar faces that change weekly.

“I think for most people, their home is their biggest investment in life, so you buy a house and make it your home you expect to have neighbors,” said Yamini.

Yamini is among those calling for the short term rentals or “STRs” to be properly regulated.

You can imagine his relief when 150 STR owners had their permits revoked over an amendment to an ordinance passed by Metro Council in January 2018.

It refers to duplexes.

“If it's a duplex and you own one side, and another person owns another side, you're not allowed to rent out your side unless you own both sides,” explained Sean Braisted of the Metro Codes Department.

An audit by the Codes Department revealed 150 STR owners with duplexes fell through the cracks when their permits got issued and had to cease operations within two weeks.

“I think the city has tried to balance between the rights of property owners to rent the house and make that extra income and also protect the rights of their neighbor,” said Braisted. “The laws try to strike that balance and we do the best to enforce it.”

While the enforcement of these rules is celebrated by locals who don't care for STR, Metro Codes says it's nothing new.

In 2018, 300 civil citations and 650 abatement notices got handed to STR property owners, along with 1200 letters saying they weren't properly registered.

Because of this mistake by the city, several property owners are appealing or filing lawsuits over their permits.

The city says it understands their frustration, and just wants to right a wrong.

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