WASHINGTON, DC (April 5, 2018) – After the Tennessee Senate passed SB1086, sending the “Short Term Rental Unit Act” back to the Tennessee House of Representatives, Mike Copps, Executive Director of the Vacation Rental Management Association (VRMA) issued the following statement:
“While the final bill that passed the Senate might not be perfect, it is a step in the right direction. However, we do feel that it may prove difficult to enforce and overall does not accomplish our goal of protecting the property rights of second homeowners and statewide standards for the vacation rental industry. We hope that future versions are more straightforward and permissive.
“In general, overturning local bans is the right move for Tennessee, for the state’s residents, and for the state’s economy. With this bill in place, most regular Tennesseans looking to make a living and contribute to the state and local economy will still be able to do so. It will encourage tourism in the Volunteer State by providing travelers with the lodging options that they want and that they are increasingly looking for when choosing vacation destinations.
“In addition to luring visitors to the state, the vacation rental industry offers immeasurable direct and indirect benefits, with second homeowners providing a significant portion of tax revenues and travelers staying in vacation rentals spending higher than average sums of money in the local community, generating additional tax revenue, employment, and economic development. For example, a recent study demonstrated that Nashville’s short-term rental market had a $477 million economic impact on the community.
“With the passage of these regulations, the role of a professional vacation rental manager is more important than ever. These professionals in our industry bring a core set of principles to the job, including a dedication to quality service, an understanding of the 360-degree guest experience, knowledge of the latest safety techniques, and the key relationships needed to address almost any issue that might arise. Their service-oriented backgrounds have uniquely equipped them to help their guests with the entire experience from reservation to goodbye.
Under the legislation, communities are prevented from banning short-term rentals that are already operating, however it does preserve some local prohibitions of renting a home as a short-term rental. An amendment to the bill, which cleared the chamber, abolishes the grandfathered status if the property is sold. Local governments would still be able to regulate the industry for health and safety reasons. In addition, the bill clarifies how lodging taxes are to be applied and collected.
Copps continued, “We hope that the Tennessee House and Senate continue to consider the protection of rights for thousands of property owners in Tennessee as they work on a final version of HB1020/SB1086, solidifying the state government’s position of standing for Tennessee’s tourism economy.”
The legislation passed the State Senate by a vote of 24-5. An earlier version of the bill passed the House by a vote of 53-35.
VRMA is the leading voice in advancing professionally managed vacation rentals as a safe and reliable lodging option for traveling consumers. VRMA’s top mission is to drive professionalism in the industry, preparing managers to more responsibly represent and work with property owners and local communities to provide guests with the highest standards in maintenance, housekeeping, guest protection, safety, proper inspections, and a host of other issues. This high level of professionalism is the key differentiating factor between professionally managed rentals and owner-managed or non-professionally managed properties.