The Lewisville City Council unanimously agreed on a short-term rental ordinance this week. The council also agreed to postpone the decision on a short-term rental temporary ban.
The ordinance will go into effect on July 8, and includes parking restrictions, permits and a fine of up to $500 if an owner does not comply with ordinance regulations.
The rise of Airbnb and VRBO has led to increased resident property concerns about transient and vacation rental uses that infringe on the property rights of neighbors in the city, according to residents.
According to staff, since January 2020, the city has seen over 80% increase in the number of short-term rentals, from 51 to 93 units. Other cities in the region regulate short-term rentals to varying degrees. At the time, the city had not regulated short-term rentals.
Lewisville resident Ainsley Stelling told council they have seen residents leave the city due to the short-term rental homes. She said residents don’t want to be driven out of the city because the neighborhood is becoming “a hotel district.”
“We’ve already lost one long-term resident because of a short-term rental owner, and her house was purchased to become our second short-term rental in the neighborhood,” Stelling said before council’s vote.
According to the ordinance, short-term rental owners will pay a short-term rental permit fee of $400 per unit and reapply for the permit annually.
Lewisville’s director of neighborhood and inspection services may deny a short-term rental unit permit application if the owner is not in arrears financially, or owes the city payments or has not passed inspection, for example.
The owner will then be notified and asked to reapply. The owner may appeal the denial of a short-term rental to Lewisville’s city manager within 10 days of the denial.
The owner must designate contact information of a property manager for each short-term rental unit who can be contacted regarding immediate concerns and complaints from the public.
Owners must be reachable in person or by phone within 15 minutes at all times while occupants are on the unit’s premises. If called, a property manager must be able to and shall be present at the premises within one hour of a call from a city staff member.
The owner of a short-term rental unit will provide all tenants with their contact information and provide a brochure of house rules, along with city rules and public contact information.
The owner of a short-term rental will need to maintain at least two 96-gallon trash carts in addition to a recycling cart.
The ordinance says there will be a limited parking zone process where residents can petition the city to limit street parking to people with parking passes only, with minor exceptions. (This is available to all Lewisville residents, not just those living near short-term rentals.)
The owner will have to clarify the remittance of hotel occupancy taxes auditing authority to the city for all entities required to collect and remit the taxes.
As for advertising their short-term rental, the owner will need to include language stating that the short-term rental unit is not a party venue and may not be used to host events for compensation.
Owners will need to clarify the applicability of the regulation of floor area for required room dimensions.
Those who don’t follow the ordinance guidelines will be fined up to $500 for each offense. Offenses related to fire safety, zoning or public health can exceed up to $2,000. Additionally, each continuing day’s violation will constitute a separate offense.
Resident Gary Ferguson supports the ordinance but falls short due to the ordinance not addressing noise concerns.
“One of the things that doesn’t specifically address is noise concerns,” Ferguson said. “… The problem that short-term rentals bring is that they have people coming to party and enjoy a great time. Then they leave for their party for a couple of days, all day long, all night long. Then they leave. Another batch comes in.”
No prohibition on short-term rentals, for now
Before the ordinance vote, residents and the council discussed a one-year prohibition of short-term rentals. This temporary prohibition is separate from the operational ordinance for short-term rental units.
While the council agreed on the ordinance, they differed on the ban.
In November of last year, the city council considered an adoption of a one-year temporary prohibition for new short-term rental units within the city of Lewisville.
Resident Juan Salazar, who has one Airbnb property in the city, told the council he was against the prohibition. Salazar has been a short-term owner for five years and owns three other properties in the North Texas area.
He said the prohibition would affect his income, and he would not have enough money to send his children to college.
“There is no harm for the city,” Salazar said. “They bring more people for restaurants, gas stations, small donut shops, and it helps with taxes as well.”
Mayor TJ Gilmore suggested the council look back into the prohibition within six months or a year.