Dallas’ Short-Term Rentals Await Decision

Homes Not Hotels Sign in Yard | Image by FOX 4

Short-term rentals in Dallas have been on the chopping block all year, and a recent vote could mean the same heading into 2023.

Short-term rental (STR) is generally defined as the rental of all or part of a residential property to a person who is not a permanent resident.

However, with the Dallas City Plan Commission’s (CPC) December 8 vote to define STRs as a form of “lodging” — the same category as hotels — what does this mean for the local rental community in Dallas?

To start, the CPC is an appointed body responsible for making recommendations to the City Council regarding planning and zoning matters, meaning the vote to amend the definition of STRs has to pass a Council vote before any policy decision is made.

That is not likely to happen soon, given the item’s absence from upcoming agendas. However, if approved by Council members, STR properties would be disallowed in most residential neighborhoods.

Currently, Dallas has no existing policy standards guiding the use of STRs besides considering such a rental property as a hotel for tax purposes.

Still, the news is viewed as a positive first step by some residents who have been outspoken about STR platforms like Airbnb and VRBO.

Dallas resident Olive Talley believes STR properties have a corrosive effect on neighborhoods and said as much during the December 8 CPC meeting.

“STRs are commercial lodging businesses, period,” Talley argued. “They unravel the fabric of neighborhoods.”

Citing an example, she explained her opinion that “they worsen our housing shortage and the commercialization of homes across Dallas. As full-time residents and property owners, we stand together to ask that you uphold existing zoning by defining STRs as a lodging use that’s already illegal in residential zoning.”

Not everyone is happy with the CPC’s vote and what it could mean for STR properties in Dallas, though.

“When I hear all these horror stories about party houses, to me, it is not a zoning issue. It is a regulation issue to shut them down,” said Plan Commissioner Brandy Treadway.

Treadway asked, “How do you shut down a party house? You have really good resources. The better the regulatory regime you have, the more resources you have to cut down the bad actors.”

Arts and Culture Advisory Commission member Grady McGahan voiced opposition to the vote, telling Dallas real estate news site CandysDirt.com that he is able to afford his home in District 5 because of the rental income generated through his STR.

“I know my neighbors,” McGahan said. “I bring cookies when they move in. A solution to which we work together to solve issues is the only path.”

Referring to past attempts at compromise, McGahan said, “Multiple task forces have recommended regulation without zoning. Don’t throw the good out with the bad. A war on all STRs won’t work. The only solution is one that creates additional city police and resources and makes partners of us all.”

In June, the Zoning Ordinance Advisory Committee (ZOAC) issued a plan review that set out to protect STR users while preserving the neighborhood character of residential districts. It suggested ways to minimize adverse impacts on the housing supply caused by converting residential units to transient use.

Whatever is decided about STRs, the housing supply shortage in the city will not be remedied soon, as city officials and City Manager Broadnax still struggle with the building permit backlog.

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  1. Bret

    Str supply housing alternatives to the huge incoming population. Many people stay in str’s while looking for a permanent home. Airbnb has already added limitations to ease these party problems. But would this be any different than gov or HOA’s limiting the number of visitors you can entertain in your homestead? Once this starts we know by experience where it will end up. Lots of str owners do not allow parties, too much damage will incur, but do allow multiple families. The cost is far less than hotel accommodations. Unfortunately, Str renters will do as they please once they have purchased the house for the weekend, damn the rules. The few str’s do not appreciatively diminish numbers of normal rentals Many expensive homes are used as str’s bc normal rent amounts will not cover the mortgage, so this will be another hit on the housing industry which due to Biden’s economy it does not need now. Also bankruptcy’s and foreclosures will increase. Do you really think it’s wise to make something illegal that only interrupts the neighbors a few times a year. They are complaining mostly of the extra cars out front. Also realize that most str’s are flipped and add to the increase in the surrounding homes value. Most of the time laws are passed and the consequences are not studied first. A few complaining neighbors is no reason to destroy an industry that adds tax dollars.

    • Keepin it real!

      You are obviously in the STR business Pal. Those of us who actually LIVE in the neighborhoods you’re trying to convert into mini-motels DON’T WANT THEM.

      Why don’t you just go out and get a real job?


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