The Metro Codes Department is getting tough on property owners who rent out their homes on platforms like Air B&B without getting the right city permit. One owner received a four-day jail sentence for not following the city’s rules.
The city has now filed suit against more than 1300 owners for operating without a short-term rental permit. To have a permit, you have to show that your rental property meets certain fire safety rules.
Metro filed a civil suit against Layton Jones, the owner of a property on Spickard Court in northeast Nashville. Among the evidence – screen grabs showing the owner was advertising the home for 400 dollars a night for bachelor and bachelorette parties.
"We're going to take it seriously. We're going to take you to court. And it you continue to violate, we're going to ask for the jail time,” said Emily Lamb, Metro’s Chief Zoning examiner.
They’re getting results. Codes Director Bill Herbert said most owners are now getting permits.
“We enforce very diligently,” Herbert said. “In 2016, they were at about a 50% compliance rate. But we raised that now and now we are at 90% compliance”
The city uses "Host Compliance" - that’s a private monitoring company- to cross-reference ads with the codes permit database.
Layton Jones and his lawyer Bryant Kroll are appealing his jail sentence.
"Absolutely surprised me," Kroll told News 4’s Nancy Amons.
Kroll said Jones is a victim of overzealous prosecution by Metro and said he wondered if it’s because his client is a reality TV star.
"The is fundamentally unfair,” Kroll said.
"If you don’t comply with the court order, we will prosecute you for contempt," Herbert said.