How this judge's bizarre ruling affects Nashville investors

Is this Nashville judge legislating from the bench?If you’ve watched the news in the last week, you probably saw that a local judge recently ruled that Nashville’s Short Term Rental laws were too vague to be constitutional.

The ruling came out of a suit filed by The Beacon Center, a libertarian think-tank, on behalf of a couple in Salemtown (North Nashville) who felt that their rights as homeowners were being violated.

The lawsuit challenged the 3% cap per voting district of non-owner occupied short terms rentals.  Because the 3% cap has already been reached in their district, this couple who travels frequently are not able to take advantage of the rental income that others are enjoying.  

The latest law, which passed in 2015, was designed to balance the rights of homeowners, neighbors and owners of rental property.  The ordinance overwhelmingly passed at Metro Council with a vote of 30-2.  

You would think this would be great news for the plaintiffs.

Without the law requiring a 3% cap, anyone (and everyone) could rent out their homes as they did prior to the passing of the law.

But not so fast.

The judge also said the the “common right” to rent out your home “short term” did not exist prior to the law.  

In other words, you are not allowed to rent out your home in Nashville for less than 30 days.


Currently, we are stuck between a rock and a hard place until the judge’s ruling is signed and any legal challenges to the ruling are finalized.  

As of today, the codes department is continuing to issue permits for short term rentals and the city’s law director states that they will continue to collect hotel taxes on all short term rentals.  

Hopefully, calmer heads at Metro Nashville, the Beacon Center and the Circuit Court will prevail and fix this problem quickly.

Do you think the ruling was correct or is this just a case of legislating from the bench?

I’d love to hear your opinion!

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