First Deal in Chattanooga - Short Term Rental Possibility?

3 Replies | Chattanooga, Tennessee

Hey BiggerPockets Chattanooga,

I'm a buy-and-hold investor, and I just picked up my first property in the East Ridge area of Chattanooga.  I worked in Chattanooga for several months many years ago, and I've been looking for an excuse to get back.  My goal is to build a portfolio of long-term B-class rental SF homes similar to what I have in Nashville.  Given that this is the first of what I hope is at least a handful of properties in the Chattanooga area, my initial thought is to furnish it, use it while I am there, and vacation rental it when I am not.  How is the AirBnB/VRBO market?  Any local regulations I need to be aware of? Are there any management companies that specialize in short term rentals (google wasn't much help)?

Also, I need some help.  If I am going to be successful in the area, I'll need a good team.  Does anyone have referrals for property managers, handymen, plumbers, electricians, lawnmowers, turn-over cleaners, window installers, get the idea!  Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated, including who not to use if there are people with bad reputations in the investor network.  

Lastly, I'd like to build some relationships with other investors in the Chattanooga area, including other landlords, wholesalers, etc.  If you'd be willing to share some insight with an experienced investor who is new to the area, please reach out.  I've met some great people through this forum, and I hope that continues.

Thanks in advance!


I'm an investor here and one of the owners of First Property Management.  We don't handle short term rentals, nor can I point you in the direction of who might, but a couple things you should know.  The city council passed restrictions on what areas these are legally allowed in.  The area comprises N Chatt, much of downtown, the Southside, and Highland Park, I believe.  Outside of the zone is not allowed although I suspect enforcement is fairly loose.  Hamilton County also just entered into an agreement with AirBnB to collect occupancy taxes on rental rooms.  AirBnB will remit to the county but I'm not sure if the tax will just be added to the rate, like a hotel, or handled differently.  Also, demand for the areas closest to downtown tends to be highest with prices falling pretty quickly once you get on the other side of Missionary Ridge.  

Hey Brian, thanks for the response, it was extremely helpful. I've also learned from what may be the only STR company in Chattanooga that East Ridge is in the process of enacting their own short term rental legislation. Unfortunately, that legislation doesn't allow for STRs in R1 zoning (or industrial). Looks like my hope of having a vacation home in Chattanooga is going to have to wait a bit, but as long as the numbers continue to work, I'll keep looking for long term rentals.

Thanks again!