The Short Term Rental Unit Act, a compromised and highly disputed bill regulating Airbnb and other short-term rental properties, is headed for Governor Haslam’s desk after days of debate.
Early Tuesday, the House passed the legislation 67-23. However, the conference committee, selected by the House of Representatives and the Senate, ironed out the details of the bill before the Senate approved 18-14.
The legislation, which restricts the ability of Tennessee’s cities to ban short-term house rentals, has been intensely lobbied for years by Airbnb, Homeaway, and short term vacation rental companies.
Chattanooga native, Senator Bo Watson, had forced changes to the Senate bill in the past, including one that dissolved “a vested property right for owners of property that originally would have allowed owners to sell homes to other people or companies who could keep operating the homes for short-term rental.”
In addition to that prohibition, the bill now includes a “grandfather” provision, which affects towns and cities where no short term rental regulations exist. The Short Term Rental Unit Act now states that when a town or city does enact rules, owners of short term rental property (including those do not occupy their rental property) can continue to rent if they provide documentation of having paid at least six months of sales taxes on rentals during the twelve month period before rules are instated.
The City of Chattanooga has already established a set of restrictions. Learn more about Chattanooga’s current short term rental regulations here.