Commission recommends that short-term rentals in Dallas be banned in family-friendly neighborhoods

After years of debate and deliberation, a decision was made on what to recommend to the Dallas City Council on how to regulate short-term rentals.

Members of the Dallas City Plan Commission voted 9 to 4 on Thursday to have short-term rentals defined as housing. The vote came after a nine-hour meeting.

If Dallas defines homes rented on platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo as housing, then they would be illegal in single-family and multi-family neighborhoods. They would be limited to areas zoned for commercial or mixed use.

It was a matter that Dallas City Council members asked the city’s plan commission to consider before returning to the full city council to have the final say.

Many Dallas residents have complained that short-term rentals are ruining the character of their neighborhood by creating a flood of passing guests, throwing loud parties and leaving trash behind. However, owners of short-term rentals claim that it is their right to use their property as a means of earning income.

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One question before the City Plan Commission on Thursday was: What about homes whose owners live part-time?

“Isn’t it just STRs by another name? asked a commissioner. “If Marriott is buying a house, what’s stopping them from saying, ‘I want to use the prop and use it as an STR?'”

The answer was determined to be that someone would have to live in the house long-term, even if they left every weekend, for the house to be licensed as a neighborhood STR.

One commissioner said she felt STRs should be managed through regulations rather than zoning.

Another commissioner expressed concern that if STRs were banned through zoning it would create a black market.

But even after two years of back and forth for mayor of Dallas on the issue, some commissioners seemed hesitant to act.

If a short-term rental operator is caught violating any law or zoning regulation, the operator could face a fine of up to $2,000 per day.

Late Thursday, the director of housing argued that short-term rentals could provide a form of affordable housing, but he admitted his department had yet to investigate the issue.

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