17/06/2024

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Tennessee mountain town neighbors go to court over Airbnb rentals

13 min read
Tennessee mountain town neighbors go to court over Airbnb rentals
Tennessee mountain town neighbors go to court over Airbnb rentals

It sounds like a reality TV show destined for good ratings: Neighbors turned against neighbors, allegations of conspiracy and a homeowners’ association in a legal battle with its own residents, all set against a backdrop of serene mountains and lake views in rural Tennessee.

For the residents of Lone Mountain Shores in New Tazewell, it’s just reality.

A feverish fight over short-term rentals in the neighborhood, which was established on Norris Lake in 1998 and now includes around 165 homes, has landed in court and split the community in two.

Conflicts over allowing short-term rentals like those offered through Airbnb and Vrbo are commonplace in residential communities, especially in tourist hot spots like Hawaii and New York City, where locals weigh economic advantages and property rights against housing access and disturbance from vacationers.

Lone Mountain Shores at Norris Lake is a neighborhood of divided signs. Anti-renter signs dot yards with phrases like "Vacation rentals not welcome here."

For more than two decades, Lone Mountain Shores has offered visitors access to Norris Lake and the Cumberland Gap through vacation rentals. The Lone Mountain Shores Owners Association board of directors is trying to end the practice in its neighborhood.

The homeowners’ association filed a lawsuit requesting a permanent injunction against two dozen residents in November 2022, alleging they had rented their homes in violation of the neighborhood’s covenants.

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