New Memphis ordinance targets short-term rentals like Airbnb

Published: Jul. 5, 2023 at 6:31 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A new ordinance in the City of Memphis is aiming to tackle the number of residential properties being used as short-term rentals.

As of July 1, the new ordinance requires short-term rental property owners to obtain a permit to be able to rent out the property.

“There are limitations under state law, but we tried to do some local changes to help us manage what we call short-term rentals, which most people know as Airbnbs,” said Robert Knecht, public works director for the City of Memphis.

It’s a new effort to draw the line between proper and improper uses of residential properties.

“These types of properties are being used for just throwing big parties, just bashes,” Knecht said.

While Airbnb has become a very popular way to lodge while traveling, city leaders say some people are using the properties for other reasons.

“And it’s creating a lot of frustration and irritation by adjacent property owners that are having to deal with those types of issues,” said Knecht.

He added that renters could end up breaking the law without knowing it.

“So, they’re zoned a certain way, and when you have something like that occurring, you’re changing the zoning... abusing, violating the zoning,” Knecht said.

The new ordinance requires those who own the home and want to rent it out to register their short-term rental at

There, property owners can apply for a permit, which costs $300 upfront and must be renewed every year for $150.

But a permit is not required for those who were in business prior to the implementation of the ordinance unless the property has been sold or has not been used as a short-term rental for 30 months.

“So anybody that already has a short-term rental is not required to register. It’s only those, who go into business after July 1,” Knecht said.

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