Arlington Looks to Regulate Short-Term Renting

Short-term rentals on city council radar

When a major event comes to town, some Arlington homeowners see an opportunity to make some quick cash by renting out their homes for a few days to fans in town for, say, a Super Bowl, World Series or BCS bowl game.

“We're going to see more and more of these rentals. So, consequently, we may only have a few now but it's safe to say that we'll have a whole lot in the future,” said Charlie Parker, Arlington City Councilmember.

Short-term rentals are defined as properties rented from one to 30 days.

“Right now if there's a short-term rental out there that becomes 'Animal House' or unruly or doesn't respect the sanctity of the neighborhood, there's nothing in the books,” added Parker.

Some are pushing for rental regulations requiring homeowners to get a permit before renting their property and to pay a city hotel tax.

Tuesday night, the city council tabled the first reading of an ordinance that aims to regulate short-term rentals so councilmembers could look further into the issue.

Bill Hallmon has lived in a North Arlington neighborhood since the early 1990s and said he has to live through the experience of neighbors renting out their homes during big event weekends.

“Generally people aren't in the house that long and they generally don't keep the property up and they have very little regard for the people that live around them,” said Hallmon, who is in favor of regulating the practice.

The proposal would give neighbors recourse in the event that short-term renters disrupt a neighborhood.

While the focus of the effort is on preserving the quality of life for the long-term residents in a neighborhood, Parker said it would also protect renters themselves.

“I think it's a two-sided ordinance,” said Parker. “In the event that the renter doesn't show as much discretion as he should show in renting to certain types of renters.”

Renters who, if they become unruly, could cost property owners their permits and ability to rent. 

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