Some downtown Nashville residents upset with apartments partnering with Airbnb

PHOTO: FOX 17 News

Nashvillians living in some downtown apartment complexes are complaining about a new business model that they believe could create a less safe, more unstable living environment.

The Olmsted, a new apartment building on 5th Avenue, sold just after it opened to a company called Niido which partners with Airbnb to offer vacant apartments on the hotel-like booking site. While that may lead to bigger profits for the building managers, new tenants feel misled because they were not told about this plan before signing lengthy leases.

"I personally think it wasn't fair because we weren't let in on this at all when we signed the lease," said Grace Sport, a new Olmsted leasee. "That's pretty much a totally different business model than what we had signed on to."

Sport is not alone in her discontent with Niido. Residents have banded together through a community Facebook page and started a petition asking their Metro Councilor, Freddie O'Connell, to adjust city rules and disallow this practice.

O'Connell said he feels the state would frown upon further regulations despite the fact that such an Airbnb partnership is only allowed in Nashville's downtown core. A permit is required to Airbnb in other neighborhoods like Sylvan Park, Green Hills or Bellevue.

"Being a female living downtown where it's not always the safest environment, it is a little concerning," said Sarah Cavalier, a young woman living and working downtown. "There is the potential for us to kind of turn into a hotel."

Niido sent its new residents a letter after announcing purchase of the building that encouraged them to rent out their own home.

"We’ve heard from residents all around the country who want to share their space to earn a few extra dollars through home-sharing, and we’ve responded by creating this unique partnership with Airbnb to give you the freedom and flexibility to share your apartment—on your own terms. By working together with Airbnb, we will ensure we have the rules, regulations, technology, security, and staff to make home-sharing fun, safe, secure, and (sic) seamless," the letter from Niido's CEO read.

However if the tenants did choose to rent their home, they would pay a 25 percent fee to Niido, three percent to Airbnb and other fees, cutting into profits. FOX 17 News reached out to Niido for comment on this story, but did not hear back Tuesday night.

Allison Krinickas, a new Nashville resident who works nights as a nurse feels trapped.

"We signed a 16-month lease, so we're kind of stuck. There's nothing at this point I feel like I can do," Krinickas explained.

Niido's partnership with Airbnb is part of a larger push by the latter company to team up with property managers and developers to build up rentable inventory.

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