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  • Writer's pictureJivko Stefanov

Navigating Short-Term Rental Regulations in Tennessee

Updated: Nov 15, 2023

Short-term rentals, often associated with platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo, have become increasingly popular in Tennessee due to the state's vibrant cities, cultural attractions, and natural beauty. However, with the rise in short-term rentals' popularity, regulations have also been put in place to ensure the safety of guests and maintain the character of local communities. If you're considering diving into the short-term rental market in Tennessee, understanding these regulations is vital.

1. State vs. Local Regulations

While Tennessee has statewide regulations governing short-term rentals, individual cities may have additional rules. Always check with local city or county ordinances to get a comprehensive understanding of the requirements specific to your property's location.

2. Short-Term Rental Permit

Before listing a property as a short-term rental, owners need to obtain a permit from the local government. This often requires property inspections and adherence to safety standards.

3. Tax Obligations

Short-term rental operators in Tennessee are required to collect sales tax from guests. This includes both state and any local sales taxes. Additionally, some local governments may impose a hotel or occupancy tax on short-term rentals.

4. Insurance Considerations

Standard homeowner's insurance might not cover liabilities arising from short-term rental activities. It's advisable to update your insurance policy or obtain additional coverage that specifically caters to short-term rentals.

5. Safety Requirements

Ensuring the safety of guests is paramount. Properties may need to be equipped with safety measures such as smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and clear exit routes. Periodic inspections might also be required.

6. Noise and Nuisance Regulations

To maintain community peace and harmony, there are often rules regarding noise levels, especially during nighttime hours. Property owners should communicate these rules to their guests to avoid any neighborhood disturbances.

7. Advertising Restrictions

Some localities have stipulations on how you can advertise your short-term rental. According to Waller Group Property Management this might include displaying your permit number in the listing or adhering to specific wording or disclaimer requirements.

8. Occupancy Limits

Depending on the property's size and location, there might be limits to the number of guests you can accommodate at a time. Ensure you're aware of these limits to avoid overbooking or overcrowding.

9. Duration and Frequency Limits

Certain areas may restrict the number of days a property can be rented out in a year or require a minimum duration for each stay. Familiarizing yourself with these rules will ensure you schedule bookings appropriately.

10. Parking Provisions

Parking can be a concern, especially in busy urban areas. Regulations might stipulate the number of vehicles allowed, designated parking areas, or even require the provision of off-street parking for guests.

11. Record Keeping

Maintaining detailed records of all short-term rental activities, including guest details, duration of stays, and collected taxes, is crucial. Local authorities might request these records to ensure compliance with regulations.

12. Regular Inspections and Maintenance

While not always mandated by law, regular property inspections ensure that your short-term rental adheres to safety and quality standards. Keeping your property in top condition not only minimizes potential regulatory hitches but also enhances guests' experiences, leading to positive reviews and repeat bookings.

13. Neighborhood Harmony

To foster good relationships with neighbors, it's essential to consider their concerns and needs. Proactively communicating with neighbors about your short-term rental intentions can minimize misunderstandings. Some owners even provide neighbors with their contact information in case of any concerns, ensuring quick resolution and maintaining neighborhood peace.

14. Updating Listings with Regulatory Changes

Regulations can change, and it's vital to stay updated. Whenever there are new regulations or changes to existing ones, make sure to update your online listings accordingly. This ensures transparency with potential guests and reinforces your commitment to compliance.

15. Engage with Local Rental Associations

Many regions in Tennessee have local short-term rental associations or groups. Engaging with these bodies can provide insights into best practices, changes in regulations, and a platform for voicing concerns or seeking clarifications. It also offers a community of fellow owners to share experiences and advice.

16. Emergency Protocols

While safety regulations often cover basics like smoke alarms, having a clear emergency protocol is an added advantage. This includes having a list of emergency contacts, nearby medical facilities, and an evacuation plan in easily accessible areas of the property. Such measures can expedite responses in unforeseen situations and enhance guest safety.

17. Local Amenities and Community Standards

Understanding the community's culture and standards can help tailor the guest experience. For instance, if your property is in a region known for local festivals, music events, or natural attractions, having brochures or guidebooks available can enhance the guest experience. Conversely, being aware of community norms and sensitivities can guide guest behavior, ensuring they respect local traditions and standards.


Short-term rentals in Tennessee present a lucrative opportunity, but the key to success lies in a thorough understanding and adherence to both state and local regulations. Beyond just compliance, the goal should be to integrate seamlessly into the community, offer outstanding guest experiences, and foster harmonious neighborhood relationships.

Ready to dive into Tennessee's thriving short-term rental market, but wary of the regulatory intricacies? Partner with us. Our expertise ensures your rental journey is smooth, compliant, and profitable. Contact us today and unlock the full potential of your property with a trusted ally by your side.

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