Lynne Randazzo rents out half of her Parkridge duplex on Airbnb nearly every day of the year. It's a business that serves as her family's primary source of income — even though she's not allowed by law to operate it in Knoxville.
"It's so incredibly risky to run a company that you really don't have permission to run," Randazzo said. "We just make sure we're good property owners. It's kind of scary living on the edge."
City ordinances ban short-term rentals of homes in residential areas. The city can force short-term rentals to shut down if complaints are made against the owner, Knoxville officials said. Yet Airbnb lists about 250 properties for rent in the Knoxville area on its website, and VRBO, has about 75 on its site. All operate without any permits, inspections or taxation.
Now city officials are examining how to regulate the businesses, including collecting the same occupancy tax that hotels pay and controlling where and how many short-term rentals can operate, said Bill Lyons, deputy to Mayor Madeline Rogero and the administration's chief policy officer.