As a property owner in the vibrant city of Nashville, you are just one permit away from transforming your space into a profitable short-term rental listing! There’s no better time to capitalize on the influx of visitors coming to Music City—last year, over 15 million visitors spent $7 billion in Nashville.
To post your unit or home on a short-term rental site, you are legally required to obtain a permit from Nashville’s Metro Codes Department. While the process may seem overwhelming at first, with a little bit of time, research, and the proper documentation, you’ll be ready to rent in no time.The first thing to keep in mind is that there are two types of short-term permits (STRPs) in Nashville. Depending on your situation, you’ll apply for either an owner-occupied and non-owner occupied permit. It’s pretty straightforward: one permit is for places in which the owner resides in said property, and the other is not.
New non-owner occupied STRP permits are typically for investor-owned properties and are only permitted in certain non-residentially zoned areas, as listed in the District Land Use Table.
In order to apply for a short-term rental permit, you must gather specific documents and information before meeting with a zoning examiner at the Development Services Center. Preparing yourself ahead of time and making sure all required papers are in order is encouraged, as these actions can reduce delays or repeat visits. It’s important to note that you cannot list a property or unit online until you have received a permit, or you will be ineligible to apply for a permit for one year.
Nashville’s government site provides you with a handy short-term rental property checklist to download that can help you through the process.
Here are some steps you’ll have to take before going to the Development Services Center.
You’ll need to create an official or hand-drawn floor plan that details your property’s available rooms with windows, doors, and smoke detectors identified. Smoke detectors are required in all sleeping areas, in every room that’s in the pathway between each bedroom and an exit, and in each story within the unit, including basements. There’s a maximum of four sleeping rooms per permit.
Proof of homeowner's, fire, hazard, and liability insurance must be provided. Liability coverage should have limits of not less than one million dollars per occurrence. In certain circumstances, the listing company may offer the appropriate insurance to meet these requirements.
Before applying for a permit, you’re required to notify adjacent property owners of your plans. If the adjacent property is owned by the city, this step is not necessary. Download the notification template here.Proof of written notification will be required, which includes: a signature of an owner; a signed receipt of U.S. registered or certified mail addressed to an owner; or notice from the U.S. Postal Service that registered or certified mail to an owner was refused or not accepted in a timely manner.
If you’re applying for an owner-occupied permit, you’ll need to bring two forms of proof of residence, both of which include the address of the rental property. Acceptable documentation includes a Tennessee driver’s license, other valid state ID card, voter registration card, pay stub, work ID or badge, IRS W2 form, or bank statement. Utility bills cannot be used as proof of residence.
The applicant must provide proof of payment of all taxes due, including property taxes and any applicable room, occupancy, and sales taxes required by state law or the Metropolitan Code. Property tax information is available via the Metropolitan Trustee’s office.
Your space can only be rented out if there is a designated responsible party residing within 25 miles of the property. He or she must be willing to come on-site in the event of an emergency or complaint.
Part of the application includes submitting a statement confirming that renting out your property does not in any way violate a Homeowners’ Association agreement or bylaws, Condominium Agreement, Covenants, Codes and Restrictions, or any other agreement governing and limiting the use of the proposed space.
Once you have your documents in order, you’re ready to meet with a zoning examiner! Applications for short-term rental permits must be made in-person at the Development Services Center of the Metro Office Building. It’s recommended that applicants get in line before the doors open at 7:30 a.m. You can also sign into the online queue starting at 8:00 a.m., but there is a high volume of applicants, so slots fill up quickly.
Once a permit application has been submitted, you must schedule a fire inspection by emailing FMORequest@nashville.gov. Include the temporary permit number and your name, address, and phone number. For more detailed fire marshal inspection instructions, click here.
Once the inspection has been completed and approved, you will be charged a $313.00 permit fee. It must be paid in full via cash, check, or credit card (a 2.3% processing fee will be applied to all credit card payments).
Once you receive your short-term rental permit, you must post a picture of it to all online listings.
All sales and hotel taxes have to be remitted to the appropriate agency. To learn more about tax payments, visit the Office of the Treasurer.
Permits expire after 365 days, so they need to be renewed annually to remain in compliance. Operating a rental under an expired permit will result in a one-year prohibition period.
If you need a helping hand as you navigate this permit process, we’re here for you! Chady Property Management is a seamless turn-key vacation rental property management for Airbnb, VRBO, Bookings.com, and more. We can help you obtain the right permit and provide many other services, including property syndication, cleaning, and tax management. Reach out to us today to learn more or get started.