Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Beacon Lawsuit Improves Nashville Airbnb Policy

Beacon Center, August 17, 2016  - As noted in the Tennessean, last night, due to a lawsuit by the Beacon Center against the city of Nashville, the Metro Council voted to repeal its unconstitutional restrictions on homeowners’ use of signs related to short-term rental properties (STRPs). Under existing law, homeowners cannot so much as put a four-inch sticker in their window indicating that their home is available on the popular short-term rental site Airbnb.

Beacon challenged Metro’s STRP ordinance in court on behalf of two Nashville homeowners due to its unconstitutionality, recently securing an injunction against the city’s enforcement of the signage ban and another provision that would allow the police to seize guest logs of homeowners without a warrant. With last night’s vote—as well as a previous vote to scrap the invasive police search of records—the Metro Council has recognized and acted upon Beacon’s victory on these grounds in court. 

This action was a direct result of the Beacon Center’s lawsuit against the city on behalf of our plaintiffs, P.J. and Rachel Anderson. The Andersons are seeking to overturn Nashville’s permit-cap on Airbnb rentals and also challenged Metro’s STRP ordinance that banned homeowners from placing a sign on their property to indicate that their home was available on the short-term rental website.

Rachel responded to the news stating, “We are very excited for this initial victory and to have our 1st amendment rights restored. We look forward to more victories in this case as we proceed.”
The Metro Council should be applauded for taking a step in the right direction on how it treats homeowners. However, as our pending lawsuit shows, there are still glaring problems with how Metro regulates services like Airbnb. 

While many have been looking at unfair and ineffective regulations to solve some of the problems Airbnb has had in Nashville, the Beacon Center has proposed a list of solutions that will protect the property rights and economic liberty of Nashville homeowners while preserving the character of our city’s neighborhoods and protecting consumers.

You can read the Beacon Center’s policy proposal here and our lawsuit here.

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