Dallas Proposes Short-Term Rental Regulations

Searching for short-term rental online | Image by Tero Vesalainen/Shutterstock

The City of Dallas staff is developing new regulations for short-term rentals.

Staff briefed council members on two proposed ordinances during a Quality of Life and Arts Committee meeting on Monday — a zoning ordinance and a registration ordinance.

The City Plan Commission’s (CPC) recommended zoning ordinance defines short-term rentals (STRs) as a building containing at least one kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom that is rented to occupants for less than 30 days at a time.

This ordinance would also require STRs to have at least one off-street parking spot. Under this ordinance, STRs would only be permitted in designated zoning areas.

Recommended Zoning Districts If the CPC’s recommendations were adopted, only 1.8% of existing STRs would be permitted to continue operating.

The ordinance is being put forth to “establish regulations to protect the health and safety” of STR occupants and to “preserve the neighborhood character of residential districts” where STRs operate, according to a proposed statement by the CPC.

Chris Christian, director of Code Compliance Services, briefed council members on a proposed STR registration ordinance that would require STR owners to register annually with the municipality for a $214 fee.

Applicants could be denied registration if they fail zoning inspections, do not meet minimum property standards, have at least three citations for violations of the City Code within the 12 months prior, or are within 2,000 feet from another registered STR.

Additionally, the ordinance would require all STR owners to “be a good neighbor” by allowing no more than three occupants per bedroom, not allowing people to rent more than two consecutive nights, and not allowing amplified sound that could be heard across property lines after 10:00 p.m.

After staff briefed the committee, council members entered a closed executive session to discuss the potential legal ramifications of these regulations.

Because the session lasted longer than planned, council members will question staff about these regulations at a full council briefing on April 4. During the briefing, there will be time for public comment, so the people of Dallas can provide council members with their input.

The City Plan Commission approved defining STRs as a form of “lodging” in December, as previously reported by The Dallas Express. This is the same category hotels are placed in.

Because of this categorization, the City of Dallas can collect a 7% hotel occupancy tax from STR owners.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, short-term rentals have also been increasingly linked to alleged criminal activity, including prostitution and human trafficking.

Police have “seen the newer tactic of using short-term rentals by sex trafficking organizations to conduct business,” according to a statement by DPD Sergeant Warren Mitchell.

“Using short-term rentals allows the organizations to move their operations more frequently and to cross jurisdictional lines to avoid raising suspicion from people who live around the short-term rental, as well as local law enforcement,” he said.

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  1. ThisGuyisTom

    I also appreciate the article’s embedded images.

    If anyone watches the Open Mic Speakers at Dallas City Council Meetings, they know that this issue is of major concern.

  2. Donald Bounds

    This never should have taken as long as it is taken to get the quote STR’s issue resolved. Short term rental is a play on words. Staying less than 30 days is lodging. We who live in the city of Dallas have a disfunction government that is out of control. They basically did the same thing with the bikes and scooters. Allow it first to disrupt the Dallas communities and then try to fix it. If something supposedly does not fit into regulations or ordinance do not allow until you have it figured out. As stated short term living is losing no matter how you see it. This was also not fare to the hotel/motel industry that has to collect 7% occupancy tax. It is interesting how our government leaders turn a blind eye at illegal activity. These STR’s have been active for at least 6 years What else is our city government not enforcing. Also as a footnote. I emailed our Mayor Eric Johnson and have not received a reply back. This to me is very disrespectful from a Mayor who supposedly cares about Dallas. Also I was told by one of his assistants that I did not have the correct email address and I do. She did not sound very knowledgable.

    • Keepin it real!

      People like you simply amaze me. On one hand, you want the city to scour the countryside and ANTICIPATE every annoying thing that could happen to YOU…. Then, when they do something, you’ll claim they’re trampling on your rights. Get a life.

  3. Bret

    More liberal laws that do nothing except stop capitalism. Instead of using trafficking as an excuse, close the borders. As for only two night in a row, that does not allow a family to go away for a weekend. And taxing str’s at a higher amount just shows it’s all about control and income. The short term rental system already grades each stay and bad reviews hurt People will go elsewhere. Many str’s are in lesser neighborhoods These str’s are rehabilitated to a nicer standard than surrounding homes which bring their value up and improves the neighborhood. . Larger homes can only be used as str’s because the regular rent will not cover the mortgage. Stopping parties at these homes is a solution but people who rent will do what they want in the end. Remember , this is still private property and do you really want to chance where these laws will lead. They could easily be applied to your homestead.

    • Keepin it real!

      I really wish two of these would spring up on either side of you! But they probably won’t cause you no doubt live in an apartment and are just sticking in your right wing two cents. Hahahaha

  4. Djea3

    The problem is the property rights that come with property ownership. Also there would be a “grandfathering” by law. EVERY single existing rental would maintain that right no matter what. This would actually INCREASE their value on the market and PROFIT the owners.

    Look to other means. You can raise that taxes under special hotel type taxes, you can also raise the property taxes by valueing property by its income. You can make failure to pay the hotel tax a FELONY as well.

    There are a LOT of things that can be done, removing property rights is NOT an acceptable plan.

    1.Make a 20% special hotel tax for these properties.
    2.Base their property tax on the income value, not the comparative or purchase value using a FORMULA only.
    3.Make it a FELONY to not pay the special hotel type tax
    4.REQUIRE special insurance for such homes, including a business umbrella with 5 or 10 million dollar minimums plus any other special requirement one can think of.
    5.Pass special noise ordinances for these properties including limiting large (defined as number of people per hundred square feet of dwelling/lot size and parking requirements) assemblies therein and give police decibel meters that are calibrated.
    6.make all fines for violations payable by the OWNER/manager of the property and not allow reimbursement in the contract by the tenant by law. The owner has all responsibility for any fines and the tenant can not be made responsible.

    All of these are legal and do not interfere with property rights in any way. Some of the income can possibly be used in monitoring and policing and investigating these properties.

    Think outside the box!

  5. Keepin it real!

    Allowing short term rentals in residential neighborhoods is like plopping a MOTEL in the middle of your block!! This has NOTHING to do with YOUR PROPERTY RIGHTS!! If you want to own a motel, BUY A MOTEL!! If you want to rent out your house for a year or ten…great! But allowing two and three day stays at a time is a MOTEL!

    I would think this is one issue where both sides of the aisle could agree.


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