City’s new task force may not fix Airbnb’s nuisance, neighbors say

8580 Abrams is a popular property on

Imagine you’re planning a weekend bachelorette party, baby shower, or poolside party in Dallas for 20 of your closest friends, and lodging at your house won’t be enough. You rent one of the houses popping up Airbnb and Vrbo all over Highlands Lake, where you can relax by the pool, watch movies or games on 70 inch TVs and chat around large rounded sofas or outdoor conversation pits.

Let the party begin.

Now imagine that you live next to one of these party houses. Each night brings more cars, more music blaring from the backyard speakers, and more garbage left on the streets.

Under pressure from tired neighbors, Dallas City Council last Tuesday ordered city staff members to create a working group on the regulation of short-term rental sites. Although owners of short-term rentals are already required to register with the city, only about 400 of the estimated 1,200 properties currently on the market are registered and report their hotel occupancy taxes on a monthly basis, officials said. the city. Airbnb alone reported more than 387,000 guests in Dallas County last year, with their hosts earning $ 57.4 million.

Type in any of the 3 Lake Highlands zip codes on short term rental websites and you might be surprised at your options. Large homes have been renovated to maximize the number of people who can sleep in each home, and glitzy entertainment areas have been added. What they lack, neighbors say, are sound buffers, sufficient parking, and guests willing to consider next door neighbors.

“I have personally had to call 911 on several occasions without an answer,” says Paul Broome, who lives next to the popular Airbnb property on Abrams Road, next to Starbucks, listed as a 6 bedroom, 4.5 bathroom mansion. bath. “It looks like Deep Ellum around my house – noise, garbage, cars – all kinds of things. “

Evenings typically run from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m., he says, but some can last 24 hours a day.

“They park in the wrong direction on the street and block my garage. We have installed orange cones to discourage parking, but that has not improved. They knocked on our neighbor’s door at night. I’ve lived here all my life and wouldn’t want to live next door. I want it to end. “

“It’s going to get worse before it gets better,” Bloome continues. “We have tried everything. We called 311 and 911, we contacted the property managers next door because [renters] Park at Starbuck’s and Dallas Ballet Center, we complained to Airbnb and Vrbo but they don’t make it any easier. ”

Diana Milan’s experience was similar. Blake Arrant bought the house next to his on Club Glen near Forest Meadow Junior High. Once the renovations were completed, the house went up on

“Some nights it gets noisy,” says Milan, “so I called the cops a few times. It is not a good use of their resources. The police ask me, “Can’t you just go talk to them?” I didn’t even know what marijuana looked like, but I know it now. I shouldn’t have to go.

Arrant says he does his best to accommodate the neighbors and that tenants must agree to abide by house rules set by each landlord. Its rules prohibit smoking inside the house, pets on the property, and guests without permission. The tenants agree to move the festivities indoors before 10:30 p.m. and to pay a fee for vomiting or repairs. If the police are called, tenants are subject to forfeiture of the deposit. He doesn’t sign guests under 25 and refuses to rent to premises unless they’ve been moved by renovations or the recent tornado.

“I never rent to locals. It’s the tenants who are the problem, ”he says.

Bloome predicts that spring temperatures will bring a whole new set of problems.

“When the weather warms up we expect it to get worse as partygoers spend more time by the pool,” he says. “The biggest problem for me is that the owner is not physically in the house. If you wanted to have a party with 100 people once a year, more power for you. This is different. For me, these people are there illegally. They don’t live in the house and they don’t belong to the neighborhood. They are not what we want in the Lake Highlands.

Milan is not convinced that the new city council task force will solve the problem, especially if it remains focused on income.

“I saw in the Dallas Morning News that city council members want to make sure homeowners are registered and pay taxes, but producing a revenue stream for the city doesn’t solve the problem,” Milan said. “It doesn’t do anything for the neighborhood. They shouldn’t be able to have that in a residential area. The council also said it was concerned about “poorly managed” rentals, but these are not poorly managed. They just bring a lot of strangers to our residential area every night. People think it is illegal. This is what we thought.

City Councilor David Blewett, who represents parts of downtown and Uptown, said short-term rentals like these “pose a threat to our single-family neighborhoods.” He said he was ready to support regulations designed to protect neighbors, with after-hours enforcement of the code funded by fees for non-compliant homeowners.

“I could see whole blocks becoming Airbnbs because no one else is going to live there,” he said.

“There are a lot of issues to consider,” said Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Adam McGough, “including state preemption, enforcement issues and balancing overregulation and protection. of our neighborhoods. While we do not want to over-regulate compliant properties, the impact of misuse, creation of party houses and other dangerous or harmful properties in our neighborhoods, is totally unacceptable. We must have mechanisms in place to hold homeowners accountable and to deal effectively with situations that tend to hold our neighbors hostage in their own homes. ”

The new task force is expected to report its recommendations to city council in a few months.

Entertainment area at Abrams Airbnb

There is plenty of space for entertaining in LH homes listed as short term rentals

Swimming pool in the courtyard of 9219 Club Glen Airbnb

Entertainment area at Club Glen Airbnb

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