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VOL. 44 | NO. 6 | Friday, February 7, 2020

Legislators shouldn’t meddle with HOA restrictions

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No cause has had a better advocate than Pamela Davis Needham, who is working against proposed state legislation that she says would limit homeowners associations on many issues, including restrictions of short-term rentals.

Needham is founder of Save Our Neighborhoods and represents three local HOAs. She is working with Scott Ghertner of the 50-year-old Ghertner and Company, one of the leading property management companies in Nashville, and State Rep. Bob Freeman in opposition to bills – HB 1290 and SB 1429.

She says the bills seek to control how a homeowner’s association can control the properties within its purview. In order to better understand the situation, a trip into the long-term rental versus short-term rental battle must be taken.

A large number of the record-breaking real estate transactions in Nashville are the sales of properties that the owners/investors have no intention of occupying. Many of these investors are not currently residing in Nashville, although as Realtor and short-term rental advocate Grant Hammond is quick to point out, many of the purchasers are from Nashville.

Specifically, Metro records show 74% of the 5,878 short-term rentals are owned by persons who list Davidson County as their primary addresses, Hammond says. That would mean that 1,528 short-term rental permit holders are not locals, and that is among those that have obtained permits. Most involved in the fray would admit that there are hundreds operating Airbnb’s without permits.

Both Hammond and Needham say the legislators pushing this bill see HOAs as groups attempting to deprive property owners of their rights, even referring to the “taking away our guns and our flags arguments” as what the HOAs are doing.

In reality, HOAs pass amendments to their restrictions and covenants only if 75% of those who have invested money, time and heart into the homes agree to the change. When a person buys a property governed by an HOA, it is their responsibility to know the rules established by the HOA.

If the prospective buyers do not like the rules of a particular association, they should find an association with restrictions that fit their needs and wants.

For a state government to be able to legislate how homeowners use their properties long after the owners have purchased the property is ludicrous. The new legislation would be able to do just that by redefining the language contained in the covenants, conditions and restrictions on the properties.

Homeowners could have their loans called and be forced to move. Property values could plummet.

Freeman, whose District 56 includes southern Davidson County including Belle Meade, Forest Hills Oak Hill and Crieve Hall, is opposed to the bill, as he “does not want rental companies to dictate” what goes on within his district. Freeman has asked the attorney general to review the bill as he questions its legality.

Freeman requested opinions on two points:

1. “Can the Tennessee Legislature impair or eliminate the contractual terms among homeowners under the proposed legislation without violating the protections afforded by the Tennessee and U.S. Constitutions?”

2. “Can the Tennessee Legislature impair or violate deed restrictions and conditions under the proposed legislation without violating the protections afforded by the Tennessee and U.S. Constitutions?”

Stay tuned.

Sale of the Week

With the influx of homebuyers relocating to Nashville, there has been an enormous increase in the number of real estate agents in the area. Couple that phenomenon with the technology available and the internet marketing opportunities for these agents, it is difficult to tell the successful agents from the unsuccessful.

384 Barrywood Drive

A good website can make a mediocre agent look spectacular, while an outdated site can make an extraordinary agent appear pathetic. In either case, it is difficult in today’s fast-paced, social media-driven market for buyers or sellers to get the full scope of the careers of some of Nashville’s iconic agents.

Bobby Hite is a Nashville real estate legend. Unlike some of his “peers” – he actually has no peers – Hite has kept pace with the tools available to Realtors and has flourished in the business, selling as many houses as he did in 1975 when he entered the business.

Hite was a real estate celebrity when I entered the business. When I first saw him in person, I considered asking for his autograph. It was at the movie theater in 100 Oaks Mall in 1978. I couldn’t believe I was standing that close to him, but I dared not introduce myself. He was famous.

His website boasts of 3,300 sales, but I am certain there are even more than that. Hite was Crieve Hall when Crieve Hall wasn’t cool. He continues, even today, to set records in Crieve Hall.

Just last week, with the sale of 384 Barrywood Drive, Hite was at it again.

“It’s a record-breaking sale at $261 per square foot and sold in nine days,” Hite admitted after the closing.

The house is 1,472 square feet with three bedrooms and one full bathroom on a 0.45-acre lot. As is the case in any record-breaking residential sale, the kitchen and the bathroom were updated, and the Barrywood home also has a two-car, detached garage.

For those who lie in wait of stars at certain restaurants and grocery stores in hopes of snapping a selfie or grabbing an autograph, Hite makes it easy. Browse through the open house ads any given Sunday. Chances are he will be hosting an open house somewhere in Crieve Hall.

It’s worth the trip. Grab an autograph for me if you get a chance. I still have not mustered the nerve to approach him.

Quotation of the week

A contractor sent an email to a client stating he had “achieved substantial completion” on his project. That falls into the “half-pregnant” file.

Richard Courtney is a licensed real estate broker with Fridrich and Clark Realty and can be reached at richard@richardcourtney.com.

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