Knoxvillians who want to host guests in their home for money can start applying for a permit under a new short-term rental ordinance.
The ordinance, new in 2018, addresses using your home to charge visitors a rental fee. It applies only to those in the city.
Starting this week, property owners can apply here.
Knoxville City Council reviewed and debated for months how to regulate short-term rentals. They agreed late last year to an ordinance that creates a permitting system.
"We just want to know that people have thought about how they're going to handle this," said city spokesman Jesse Mayshark. "They're coming to their house, they're coming to their neighborhood, so we want to make sure that people are able to accommodate them in a way that doesn't in any way disturb the neighborhood."
Property owners who live in a residential neighborhood can get what's called a Type 1 permit. It allows owner-occupants to open up their homes to paying visitors for a fee.
Those with property outside a residential neighborhood can get a Type 2 permit. In those instances, you don't have to live on-site.
Hosts with rentals in residential areas that are non-owner occupied can apply for a Type 3 permit. Applicants must have been operating the rental before March 2017. They must apply by Feb. 1, 2018, and the permit lasts one year.
"They're not going to be able to just run it as a full-time short-term rental forever, but it gives them a year," Mayshark said.
The city is working with Airbnb to figure out how sales and occupancy taxes can be part of the transaction.
"We hope to have that in place very soon," Mayshark said. "Right now that is not in place and that means that anybody who's booking right now will need to do that collection themselves."
That's what Airbnb host Mike Cohen has questions about.
"Those of us that have an Airbnb and get a permit from the city, we're responsible for the taxes, we don't know how to figure that out and pay it or anything else," Cohen said.
The city also plans to offer training to property owners so they understand the regulations and the difference between the permits.
A free session open to the public will be held 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 9, in the Small Assembly Room of the City County Building downtown. Another session at the same time and location will be held Friday, Jan. 19.
The city defines short-term rentals as those that are less than 30 consecutive nights. They include bookings through Airbnb and Home Away.