August 18, 2016

A legislative victory in Nashville Airbnb case

By Caleb R. Trotter Attorney

Last month, PLF filed an amicus brief supporting the Anderson confettifamily and their right to advertise and rent out their Nashville home via Airbnb. One of the issues addressed in the brief is Nashville’s ban on signs that advertise a home’s availability as a short-term rental. The Andersons wanted to place a small, temporary sign in their yard during a popular Nashville weekend festival in the neighborhood, and put a small sticker in the window next to their front door to alert their guests that they found the correct home. Unfortunately, they were informed by the Nashville Metro government that the signs were not allowed. Believing that the sign ban was an unconstitutional violation of their First Amendment rights, the Andersons sued.

In a nice development, this week, the Metro Council unanimously voted to repeal the unconstitutional sign ban. The Andersons, and everyone else in Nashville, are now free to place signs and advertise their home’s short-term rental availablity just like other property owners can advertise that their home is for sale or for rent long-term. While there are other unconstitutional aspects of Nashville’s short-term rental ordinances that remain, those issues will be addressed in the pending lawsuit. Congratulations to the Andersons, other Nashville property owners, and the Beacon Center for this victory.

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Anderson v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County

Two Nashville ordinances banned any form of advertising short-term rentals with signage on the property, and capped the number of non-owner-occupied short-term rentals to three percent of the properties in each census tract. Rachel and P.J. Anderson periodically rent out their home via Airbnb and sued to strike down the law as violating their First Amendment right to advertise their home and their Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection. Nashville repealed the advertising ban and a trial court ruled that the remaining provisions were unconstitutionally vague. Nashville appealed and PLF filed an amicus brief supporting the Andersons and all Nashville property owners.

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