AirBnb

Nashville Cops Don't Want to Enforce Airbnb Regulations Because They'd Rather Focus on Stopping Actual Crime

City officials want specially-trained police to go door-to-door making sure no one is illegally granting permission for strangers to sleep in their homes.

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CHRISTOPHER BERKEY/EPA/Newscom

Police in Nashville, Tennessee, have been asked to train at least 10 officers to enforce new regulations targeting users of homesharing websites like Airbnb, but the cops say they would prefer to focus on preventing crimes that actually have victims.

In a letter to Mayor Megan Barry, more than two dozen members of the Nashville Metro Council have asked for police to be deployed to enforce the city's year-old rules that limit how many guests can stay in residential homes, The Tennessean reports. Nashville's homesharing regulations also require hosts to obtain a permit from the city government and cap short-term rentals at no more than 3 percent of all homes in a given neighborhood—so if 3 percent of your neighbors are listing their homes through a room-sharing service, you won't be allowed to get a permit even if you meet all the other qualifications the city has set.

The members of the Metro Council are frustrated that there's no easy way to enforce those rules. Their solution is to have a specially-trained police force that could go door-to-door in the city to make sure no one is illegally granting permission for strangers to sleep in their homes. Currently, the city's codes enforcement officers are responsible for the short term rental regulations.

"No law is going to be effective if we don't have better enforcement," wrote Metro Councilman Colby Sledge on his website this week in support of having police enforce short-term rental regulations.

Sledge also sponsored legislation that passed the Metro Council last week reducing the number of guests allowed in a residential home from 12 to eight.

In a statement to Reason, Metro Police spokesman Dan Aaron said enforcement of short term rental issues is not something law enforcement should be doing.

"With Nashville's continued growth, our police officers have plenty on their plates answering calls for service and proactively working to deter criminal activity," Aaron said.

He said the police department already responds to noise complaints and other "quality of life issues" like vehicles blocking driveways—two of the examples given by the Metro Council members in their call for additional policing aimed at Airbnb users.

The police should enforce Airbnb laws by focusing on noise and nuisance violations, just as they enforce those laws for other homeowners, says Mark Cunningham, a spokesman for the Beacon Center of Tennessee, a free market think tank in Nashville that's involved in a lawsuit challenging the city's per-neighborhood cap on short-term rentals.

"This is yet another example of local government wasting the money of taxpayers and putting Nashvillians' safety at risk," Cunningham told Reason via email. "Instead of making our police work to enforce illegal and unconstitutional laws that take away property rights from citizens, they should be focused on stopping real crime."

Mission creep is a very real problem for America's police forces. That's how you end up with Department of Homeland Security cops busting unlicensed massage therapists. In Nashville, the police department deserves credit for resisting the politically-driven effort to use force against people who aren't committing any crimes by renting their homes or spare bedrooms.

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80 responses to “Nashville Cops Don't Want to Enforce Airbnb Regulations Because They'd Rather Focus on Stopping Actual Crime

  1. the cops say they would prefer to focus on preventing crimes that actually have victims.

    So, no more drug enforcement? Cool.

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    1. Metro Councilman Colby Sledge = dumbass bureaucrat.

      Metro Police spokesman Dan Aaron = sensible cop who perhaps does not like pissing away tax dollars.

      1. Maybe someone starting to realize that harassing the populace is not going so well for the cops lately.

    2. Double damn you!

    3. Hey, libertarians need to take victories where they find them. The guy is right on this specific issue and told them to shove it. Hopefully he sticks to it.

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  2. the cops say they would prefer to focus on preventing crimes that actually have victims.

    Great. So I assume they are also going to stop enforcing drug and prostitution laws as well.

  3. Knock knock

    Who’s there

    D? police checking to see if you have papers proving that you live there legally.

    Fuck off

  4. I find it surprising that the cops would pass up an easy source of revenue. The fines must not be very high.

    1. This was also my instant reaction. Perhaps the police department hierarchy is doing a little public negotiating, holding out for some more-lucrative dedicated revenue stream?

    2. There’s a lazy/greedy scale at work here, I imagine. It must be too much work for the money involved.

      1. Or the money in Nashville doesn’t make its way to the po-po.

      2. FUCK the Nashville police.

        I got jumped by some drunken frat boys in Nashville one night. I had witnesses as to what happened, but I was the only one arrested because “you aren’t even from here!” The officer who arrested me filed a false report that I swung on him, and talked shit about the Army (he knew I was a vet) the entire way to the jail. When I got to the jail, after booking, I was taken to a cell by a little cop with arm tattoos who was calling me names in my ear, and telling me to “try something, pussy.” I made it very clear that I badly needed to pee, was told “have fun with that”, and left in an tiny, isolated cell for hours – eventually pissing in the corner and sitting with my feet in piss.

        At the end of the night, I bailed out, and the cops didn’t even bother coming to court…after I supposedly attacked one of them.

        I’ve traveled a ton, and spent my 20’s as a drunk soldier, and Nashville police were BY FAR the least progrssional, most corrupt police I ever encountered.

    3. also a great way to conduct illegal searches, fuck your 4th amendment rights!

      1. thats the whole purpose

  5. Go door to door and do what? It is called the right to remain silent. A cop comes to your door, you don’t have to answer his questions if you don’t want to when those questions are asked to illicit incriminating information. So these door to door encounters would go something like this

    Cop knocks on door

    “yes”

    “Sir or ma’am are you renting your house out on air b&B”

    “I am not answering any questions”

    That is it.

    1. The answer, as always, is no-knock raids and flashbangs in the middle of the night. “GET THE FUCK ON THE GROUND LET ME SEE YOUR MORTGAGE OR LEASE PAPERS NOW NOW NOW!!!” *BANG*

      Sheriff Joe can lend his stupid anti-cock-fighting tank that he likes to demolish people’s homes with.

      1. You have to have probable cause for that or at least be able to pretend you have before a judge. Not seeing how they get that.

        1. You seriously don’t think they’ve got a pet judge on speed dial that they know will buy, “There’s a lot of cars out front” as probable cause? I’ve seen’em stamped on flimsier.

        2. Really probable fucking cause. Fuck I can get that in my sleep. Unnamed informant said they are renting illegally. Done.

      2. I can’t wait to see how this works out when CPS is going door-to-door Scotland-style and with SWAT backup.

    2. Or, more simply, you look through the peephole and, upon seeing a cop, you simply don’t answer the door.

      1. BLAM BLAM BLAM

        He was resisting arrest.

    3. More like “I’ll fucking arrest you for obstruction of justice if you don’t tell me what I want to fucking hear. You want to go to fucking jail?” as his hand moves to his gun.

  6. Oddly, whenever I bring up the ludicrous mission creep of all LEO agencies in my standard arguments about reducing the scope of gov’t, it’s one of the things that people least believe. If I point out that Homeland Security guys are busting massage therapists, people flat out refuse to credit it until I prove it via the magic of the internet. It’s like people are so invested in the idea of government that they simply can’t allow themselves to begin to see how stupid and worthless 99% of it is.

    1. Brainwashing is a heck of a thing.

  7. Quick, give those bureaucrats something to do!

  8. I can’t have 12 people stay in my house?

    There goes Christmas

    Go somewhere else and sleep in the cold family.

  9. All you damn uber and airnb users need to stick to limos and penthouse suites like us public servants.

    Seriously, I say it all the the time, but these damn statists are in the business of fucking over the lower classes.

    1. That and in the business of regulating companies to the hilt. Then pull back a little to make sure they can still pay.

      1. Actually, they don’t even give a shit about the classes. All of this crap is always rooted in some kind of shake down scheme or lobby to keep someone out.

        In the case of AirBnb, it is fear mongering on the local level and lobbying extortion on the federal level.

        That is why AirBnb and uber make no money yet.
        They spend all of their money on litigation fees and marketing. All to fight nothing but regulation.

        This whole injustice is tantamount to the answering machine lobbying to put voicemail out of business.

        1. We can all say it at the same time- crony capitalism

    2. Also, eat your gay Nazi cake.

  10. What do you want to bet a fair number of those Council members are Democrats? And that they don’t get the correlation between cops enforcing more and more laws and the less than stellar interactions between cops and their fellow citizens?

  11. I wonder if Tennessee is like the northern Dallas suburbs…apartments are zoned only in shittier areas, and even then, it’s a small space they’re allowed to exist in, because nothing is more low-brow and disgusting than renters. They don’t take care of their homes, because they have no ownership stake, so they’re treated like a disease that has to be quarantined.

    The city of Plano in the few city council meetings I’ve gone to speak at seems to think that there are only two kinds of people: single family detached home owners, and anthropomorphized turds.

    1. I had a P&Z meeting last year in Flower Mound. The case before us wanted to get the denisty changed from something like 10 to 7.5.

      There were over 100 people there to bitch and moan about what the developer wanted to do. That is fucking “democracy in action” and it made me sick to my stomach.

  12. Sledge also sponsored legislation that passed the Metro Council last week reducing the number of guests allowed in a residential home from 12 to eight.

    “Sorry, sweetie – slumber parties are illegal now. Take it up with the mayor.”

    1. You can pry my slumber parties from my cold, dead hands.

    2. Does Sledge have some money tied up in a hotel project or something?

      1. It’s all about sweet, sweet hotel taxes.

        1. Exactly. Nashville it a tourist city. It doesn’t produce anything but shitty football, shitty fashion, and shitty music.

          1. It used to have Opryland, which when I was a kid I thought was just as good as Six Flags.

            1. Yeah, we were both wrong about that.

              1. Opryland is now a flood-damaged mall now, if you didn’t know.

                1. Yeah I’d heard that. I haven’t been to Nashville in a long time – we have a lot of family scattered throughout southern Illinois, so we’d usually go to St. Louis when we needed something from “the city”.

                2. They have fixed the flood damage. Its a nice hotel now.

          2. What’s a matter nutrasweet? Did you get stood up in Nashville or something?

            Such hate.

            Oh, we decriminalized weed possession of a half-ounce, which was pretty cool.

            Lowest cost of living the in the US too! Not bad for a city with only 43 homicides in 2013. The cops and the protestors have all hugged it out during the BLM protests too.

            Hate on!

        2. Ahhh. Well there you go.

        3. Now if we could just get a talking-point memo distributed around the media and get them talking about how AirBnB is racist…

          1. NYC is already showing “airbnb is racist” commercials.

            1. Excellent…

              *rubs hands menacingly*

    3. I’m just flabbergasted that there was a regulation on how many guests you can have in a private home at all.

  13. In a letter to Mayor Megan Barry, more than two dozen members of the Nashville Metro Council

    Think about that. The next time someone says we’re in the midst of a libertarian moment, think about how the people with the legislative pen and command of a large domestic army behave. And think about how unanimous they are in their action.

    1. To be fair, Seattle is in a class by itself.

    2. Think about the fact that the Nashville Metro Council has more than two dozen members.

      1. I noticed that too. Is it common for a city of medium size to have eleventy members on the city council?

        aren’t there usually like eight or 10?

        1. Louisville had 9 alderman. The county had 3 commissioners.

          When the city/county merged, they ended up with a metro council of 28. And the merger was supposed to save money somehow by combining services.

          I am guessing something similar happened to Nashville as Nashville/Davidson Co are also merged.

          1. Consolidating power is a good idea?

            Sorry, ain’t buying that one. It’s created a monster in Illinois by the name of Mike Madigan.

            1. These tyrannies are not going to be tyrannical without a consolidation of power.

      2. They should pass a law limiting the metro council to 8.

  14. Tennessee, have been asked to train at least 10 officers to enforce new regulations targeting users of homesharing websites like Airbnb

    […]

    In Nashville, the police department deserves credit for resisting the politically-driven effort to use force against people who aren’t committing any crimes by renting their homes or spare bedrooms.

    My cynical side has to wonder if this is because the council wants the dept. to ‘train 10 [existing] officers’ to enforce this law.

    I’m guessing that the instant the police union smells the blood of ten additional special members being hired and trained, the resistance will evaporate.

  15. Sledge also sponsored legislation that passed the Metro Council last week reducing the number of guests allowed in a residential home from 12 to eight.

    Overnight or in general?

    Because there goes any kind of party at all. 12 isnt enough for a big bbq or a super bowl.

    I have had more people than that crash overnight for a New Years Party.

  16. “No law is going to be effective.”

    fixed it.

  17. Good grief people, “guests” here means paying guests, so parties and sleepovers are not included. It’s still a stupid rule, but enough with the straw men.

    1. I may have found the problem: Nashville led the nation in year-over-year growth in 2014 for summer bookings on Airbnb.

      There’s some action going on, and someone’s not paying tribute.

  18. RE: Nashville Cops Don’t Want to Enforce Airbnb Regulations Because They’d Rather Focus on Stopping Actual Crime

    What a wonderful idea!
    Instead of hunting down murderers, armed robbers, rapists and telemarketers, the police have finally wised up and decided to crack down on the violent, evil and the criminally insane people who are granting permission to have strangers sleep in their homes. Now the wonderful people of Nashville can sleep well knowing no stranger is sleeping in their beds because before this brilliant legal move was implemented, the people of Nashville didn’t know if any stranger was sleeping in their beds. One can guess at the multitude of strangers that have slept in the denizens’ bed in Nashville for the past century and a half because, as we all know, there is no real way to know for sure if there is a stranger sleeping or have slept in your bed. Hopefully, the Nashville police will employ the NSA, the DIA, the CIA, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to search for these vicious felons who are sleeping in people’s beds without permission or knowledge of said people. This will undoubtedly reverse the never-ending cycle of violence, crime and recidivism that has constantly plagued not only Nashville, TN, but also our entire country. Thank God someone came up with this timely and judicious law enforcement policy, and not in second too soon too.

  19. the cops say they would prefer to focus on preventing crimes that actually have victims.

    In order for a crime to have a victim, the crime has to occur first.

  20. This is not mission creep.

    The mission for the police in most municipalities has been revenue generation for quite some time. This is all the council is asking these police to do…. make sure the hotel tax revenue stream is not threatened by AirBnB.

    1. Especially as these tourist taxes go up to steal from unsuspecting tourists who don’t vote in that area.

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  22. I can’t wait to see how this works out when CPS is going door-to-door Scotland-style and with SWAT backup.

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