How Dallas Can Destroy Party Homes Without Banning Short-Term Rentals
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from watching the Dallas City Government at work, it’s that the city loves the path of least resistance.
Take for example the ongoing controversy over short-term rentals. Listed on sites like Airbnb and VRBO, short-term rentals allow visitors to stay in a private home that is more comfortable and cheaper than a hotel room, while owners earn a few extra dollars.
However, Dallas stumbled upon reaching that balance. At the end of 2020, it was estimated that there were more 2,000 short-term rental units and around a third of them have been registered and reported their hotel occupancy taxes monthly, as required by the city. And some owners who live near certain short-term rentals say these properties are disruptive holiday homes and that the city is not doing enough to protect their property rights.
Short-term rentals should be regulated in a way that respects the rights of all landlords. According to a city analysis, less than 1% of residential units in Dallas are short-term rentals; they don’t reduce property values, negatively impact neighborhoods, and generate an overwhelming number of complaints.
Tell that to a neighbor who has had to deal with heckling. What isn’t a citywide problem is no less so if you live next door. And the city’s analysis has been criticized by locals who say it underestimates the number of short-term rentals and mitigates the neighborhood’s impact.
Cities regulate housing for good reasons. Zoning laws, for example, intentionally distinguish between the suitability of private and commercial enterprises in certain locations and are designed to protect and stabilize neighborhoods.
Dallas would be wrong in banning all short-term rentals in single-family neighborhoods. Instead, the city must find common ground between regulating the demise of these businesses and protecting neighborhoods. The decision must take into consideration economic consequences that have occurred in cities across the country.
Academic research shows cities have found that too many short-term rentals can reduce the availability of units that might otherwise be long-term housing. And as more and more investors buy homes for short-term rentals, rents soar in tight housing markets, experts say. Likewise, an imbalance in short-term rentals could displace the regular salaried jobs of hotel staff. Failure to collect hotel occupancy taxes for short-term rentals could undermine traditional hotels that are the backbone of tourism and economic growth.
If party houses are the problem, then the city needs to focus on stopping the bad actors using nuisance, noise and other codes to hold landlords or online short-term rental companies partially responsible for the problem. conduct of their customers. The city must also ensure that hotel registration and occupancy tax requirements are not ignored with impunity. One solution is for the city to demand online platforms that list short term rentals to collect hotel occupancy taxes and limit party houses when making reservations.
Council members should also seriously consider giving neighborhoods a voice as to whether they want short-term rentals, requiring owners or managers to live on-site and limiting the number of people who can be on the premises at the same time. a rental property.
The city’s quality of life, arts and culture committee is expected to discuss short-term rentals on May 17. City council is expected to act by June 9.
Tenants, owners, hotel operators and short-term rental guests can coexist if the city now mobilizes with objective, clear and enforceable rules. Not everyone will be happy, but such a complex problem requires compromises and obligations that go beyond the exercise of unconditional property rights. The best interest of the city depends on it.
Do you have an opinion on this problem? Send a letter to an editor, and you might just get published.