Knoxville leaders considering loosening rules to welcome Airbnb

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Knoxville officials are considering loosening restriction on homeowners interested in renting space through Airbnb and other websites that advertise rooms — or whole houses- for short stays.

Currently, short-term rentals like Airbnb are prohibited inside the city of Knoxville, except in commercial establishments like hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts. A proposal would loosen the restrictions, allowing people to operate short-term rentals in either residential or commercial properties.

And neighborhood activists and housing advocates have said short term rentals essentially legalize hotels in residential neighborhoods.  The proposed ordinance would seek to fix some of the problems associated with these rentals.

For instance, it would limit the amount of time someone could stay in a property to 30 consecutive days. Homeowners would also be required to pay taxes, get an operating permit between $70 and $120 with a $50 yearly renewal fee and provide safety features like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

The ordinance also allows the city to revoke a permit if the site is declared a public nuisance. It also implements a complaint system where people can send in complaints to the city, the city would investigate the complaints and then the owner would have 30 days to respond to the complaint and present evidence. After reviewing information, the city may revoke the permit.

The final decision will be up to the Knoxville City Council.

More: Read a full copy of the proposed ordinance


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