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Business License/Tax Office

Operating Short-Term Rentals in the City of Knoxville

The City of Knoxville does require a permit to operate Short-Term Rentals. 

Short-Term Rentals are defined as properties or a portion of a property rented for less than 30 days at a time. 

The City of Knoxville's Short-Term Rental (STR) ordinance went into effect in January 2018. STRs include listings booked through online platforms, such as Airbnb and Home Away, by which people rent out part or all of their property for short periods of time.

Short-Term Rental Application Process

Applications for STR unit permits and annual renewals are accepted and issued through the Business Tax Office.

Short-Term Rental Unit Application Form [PDF]
Short-Term Rental Unit Renewal Application Form [PDF]
Short-Term Rental Unit Frequently Asked Questions [PDF]

Short-Term Rental Ordinance

The City of Knoxville’s Short-Term Rental ordinance took effect in January of 2018. In January of 2019, the State of Tennessee’s ordinance went into effect and defined some aspects of what and how local governments are allowed to regulate short-term rentals. Therefore, the City operates according to the State of Tennessee’s ordinance - see link below.

State of Tennessee's Short-Term Rental Ordinance [PDF]

Comments or questions about the City's ordinance can be sent to [email protected].

Ordinance Enforcement

The City contracts with Host Compliance, a company that specializes in tracking and identifying Short-Term Rental listings. Host Compliance provides regular reports of Short-Term Rental activity in the City of Knoxville compared against properties with Short-Term Rental Permits. 

City officials notify any non-compliant property owners of the ordinance and encourage them to seek a permit. Property owners who do not comply will be subject to citation. 

Short-Term Rental Hotline 865-337-8275

Also included with the Host Compliance service is a 24-hour hotline for people to call with any complaints or concerns about Short-Term Rental operations. Callers should indicate that the property is being used as a Short-Term Rental. You can reach the hotline at any time of day or night by calling 865-337-8275.

Tennessee state law § 13-7-604(c) requires local governing governments such as the City of Knoxville to inform the public that “any false complaint made against a short-term rental unit provider are punishable as perjury under § 39-16-702.” 

Permitted Short-Term Rental Units

STRS Blue iconType 1 Permits: owner-occupied in residential areas
View Type 1 Permits [PDF]

STRS Red iconType 2 Permits: non-owner-occupied in non-residential areas
View Type 2 Permits [PDF]