Doesn’t the legislation give cities an “ambiguous” amount of authority to restrict property rights?
The legislation protects private property rights by prohibiting any city – whether home-rule or not – from enacting rules or policies that ban short-term rentals. If cities choose to regulate vacation rentals, the legislation requires them to apply noise, parking, occupancy and other ordinances such as residential zoning or permitting, in the same manner as long-term residences. This is a fair compromise that will be built upon in years to come. Without these policies, cities could continue to jeopardize the private property rights of Texas vacation rental homeowners.
The legislation won’t prevent a city from enacting certain limitations on short-term rentals. Doesn’t that mean some owners’ rights will be impacted if limits such as density caps are applied to the number of rentals in one area?
Cities currently use density caps and other zoning limitations to regulate other activities, but often the net effect is an outright ban on short-term rentals. What statewide legislation does provide are parameters that would prevent cities from enacting arbitrary restrictions for short-term and vacation rentals. It will ensure that Texas homeowners have a pathway in every community to participate in short-term rentals.
This legislation will open the door for cities to abuse the framework it would enact.
This legislation provides needed parameters for cities to work within so the short-term rental sector can continue to thrive in Texas, creating jobs and providing livelihoods for tens of thousands of Texans. A statewide set of guidelines for vacation rental properties in all Texas communities would replace a patchwork of different policies and regulations that have begun to emerge in different cities with a uniform and consistent set of guidelines for property owners and renters.
Without a statewide framework, local ordinances may intentionally or inadvertently have the effect of banning short-term rentals or severely limiting or restricting private property rights, and doing so risks driving these rentals “underground,” putting enforcement and safety at risk.
The bill opens the door for the Legislature to continue tinkering with statewide standards in the future.
That’s up to the Legislature and its locally-elected leaders to decide. Cities already claim they have the authority to prevent and take action against homeowners for renting their homes on a short-term basis. This legislation does not require a city to regulate, nor does it sanction the type of restriction that cities enact. It does provide a more level playing field while offering greater protections of private property rights. A statewide law for vacation rentals would recognize and respect the rights of property owners while maintaining the character of neighborhoods
The Texas Supreme Court is currently considering an Austin short-term rental ordinance. Taking action prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling is not a good idea.
The Texas Supreme Court is addressing the Austin ordinance, not whether any Texas city has the authority to regulate short-term rentals, and how exactly they’re allowed to do it. While a Supreme Court ruling may include guidance on certain aspects of Austin’s ordinance, it will not provide guidelines for addressing and regulating short-term rentals. Statewide legislation provides the framework for appropriate, effective and enforceable policies that do not include bans.