Short term rental bill vote postponed until next week - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Short term rental bill vote postponed until next week

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Chattanooga has become one of Tennessee's "it-cities" when it comes to short-term rentals like Airbnb or HomeAway. State lawmakers are looking for a way to regulate it.

On Tuesday, a state house sub-committee met to try and figure out a state-wide standard that would keep local governments from banning the service.

They postponed the vote until next week so they could work on a solution for it. How to regulate short term rentals has been an issue for cities across the state including Chattanooga.

The trend of staying in someone else's home is growing.

"I have this big house, nice place, but I live alone and so it's kind of wasted and so my friend said 'you should allow visitors to come in and rent rooms through Airbnb," Phillip Cross, a homeowner said.

Phillip Cross only expected it to pay his electric bill, but it's done much more than that.

Traditional hotels like the Holiday Inn in downtown Chattanooga have had to shift their strategies to stay competitive. The general manager said it hasn't affected their business, but they're aware of changes in the industry.

"You have to talk about what truly is important what the guests are looking for and why are guests going that route versus going to a brand new hotel downtown," General Manager Robin Stascheit of the Holiday Inn said.

A bill in the state legislature would put all of Tennessee's 95 counties under the same guidelines for short-term rentals.

One of the bill's sponsors, Representative Cameron Sexton, said local governments and even homeowner associations would have a say about health and safety issues.

However, only homeowner associations would have the power to ban them, according to Sexton.

"As long as guest safety is number one, that's the most important thing. So, i don't think there is a regulation or a zoning code, that's more important than that," Stascheit said.

As state lawmakers debate this issue, Airbnb hosts like Cross hope it goes in their favor. 

"To me, it regulates itself. I pay taxes. I pay the sales tax. I pay the hotel/motel occupancy tax and i pay all those taxes. I think that's enough," Cross said.

If it passes, it would move on to the full business and utilities committee in the house. The bill's house sponsor said it faces several more hurdles before it could become law.

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