Dallas City Council Considers Options to Regulate Short-Term Rentals

Short-term rentals could be banned in some Dallas neighborhoods under options discussed Tuesday.

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Short-term home rentals, that can be booked like a hotel room, are a money-making opportunity for homeowners and a big nuisance to some neighbors who complain about noise and wild parties.

The city of Dallas has been considering new regulations for more than a year and Tuesday a city council committee heard eight options that could include banning short-term rentals in certain neighborhoods.

“For those who own the short-term rentals, they feel they have certain rights and those who have to experience that, they simply want their rights to have their property protected,” city council member Carolyn Arnold said.

Complaints come from neighbors on Prospect Avenue, where yard signs oppose hotels in residential neighborhoods. Photos of garbage piled up in front of one home that’s used as a short-term rental have been sent to city council members.

On Bowser Avenue, neighbors have complained about four townhome units that comprise all of a single building -- all used, they say, as full-time short-term rentals.

“I don't think some of these neighbors have another year to deal with this as we decide what we want to do,” councilman Omar Narvaez said.

But that was the timeline forecast for public review and city government implementation of new rules.

Councilman David Blewett, who represents both the Prospect and Bowser locations, said he preferred a combination of fixes that include options three and four from the list.

“Really having a regulatory scheme for the good ones, and teeth for the problem operators that we have to put some more protections for the neighborhoods on,” Blewett said.

Those options could end up forbidding short-term rentals in certain neighborhoods.

“We could say in three that in order to get your registration and maintain it that you have to comply with zoning. So that could go to option four, if you don’t have the proper zoning, you can’t get the registration,” assistant city attorney Casey Burgess said.

Kris Sweckard, the city’s director of planning and development, was asked how fast all of the changes could be made.

“Honestly I think at least a year to get through that. It's going to be very controversial,” Sweckard said.

Existing rules require properties to comply with city residential codes, to register and to pay city hotel taxes. 

Assistant city manager Joey Zapata said the city has tried to boost compliance and collect the taxes.

“We’re still at about one third have registered of the ones that are suspected to be short term rental properties,” Zapata said.

As the fight drags on, neighbors have produced research from booking website Air BnB that puts Dallas in the top five U.S. growth markets for short-term rental growth.

A public hearing is planned for April 19 to get input on the proposed changes.

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