North Texas

Arlington Neighbors Push Back Against Short-Term Rentals

Short-term rentals on sites like Airbnb and VRBO are popping up all over North Texas. It’s an alternative to a hotel that lets visitors stay in someone’s home for a trip.

But many neighbors don’t like the idea of rotating strangers in the house down the block, and in cities across the country there have been cases of renters trashing the homes they’re staying in, or throwing massive parties.

Now the city of Arlington is asking for public input on how to deal with short-term rentals in neighborhoods.

"There's been full-sized tour buses parked in the driveway,” said Arlington resident Nicole Baronick. "There was a full-sized school bus here and here."

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That's when out-of-town visitors come to stay at a pair of side-by-side short term rentals for a nearby Cowboys game, or trip to Six Flags.

"I feel like there's a hotel right down the street and that's not what we signed up for when we bought our house," said neighbor Stephanie Morrison.

Close to 100 people brought similar concerns to a community meeting at Lamar High School Monday night, where an expert in short-term rentals went over the options for regulating Arlington's roughly 300 'STR’ properties.

Right now the city doesn't specifically limit where these properties can go. Some cities do or put a cap on how many people can stay in one.

Some Arlington neighbors say that would be a start.

"I don't agree with renting your house on the weekends to party-goers coming from out of town," said Tom Murphy.

"Brings in an unknown element to our neighborhood,” Baronick added. “No you don't always know your neighbors very well but you know who's living in the home and here it's just a constant onslaught of strangers."

But not everyone is opposed.

"I have had worse neighbors," said Ernest Stepp, who lives right across the street from the two short-term rentals.

He says the owners have made major improvements to the two houses and that they monitor them closely.

"The owners have told me if I see any problem whatsoever, to call the police, even though I have their number, they say call the police first. So I haven't had a problem," Stepp said.

‘STR’ properties also help the city coffers with a 9% hotel occupancy tax. But with vocal opposition now on the record, city leaders will have to choose their next move.

There is a second public meeting on this topic set for this Wednesday night at 6:30 at the West Arlington Police Station, 2060 W. Green Oaks Blvd.

There are two more meetings planned for next week: Tuesday, January 16th at 6:30 p.m. at the Bob Duncan Center, Garden Room, 2800 S. Center St. and Wednesday January 17th at 6:30 p.m. at the South Police Service Center, 1030 S.W. Green Oaks Blvd.

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