University Park Considering Crackdown on Airbnb, Other Peer-to-Peer Lodging Sites

Categories: News, Technology

UniversityParkAirBNBRental.jpg
A one-night stay at this Dyer Street cottage could be yours for just $75 per night.
If you're planning a weekend getaway to University Park and hope to capture the authentic Park Cities experience of living in an overpriced home on an absurdly expensive postage stamp of land, you'd better act fast. The City Council there is mulling a crackdown on short-term leases of single-family homes through sites like Airbnb.

"In the instances, a homeowner, a property owner that lives in that residence will vacate the property and then lease it on a short-term basis, typically through a website," a city staffer explained to the council this week (probably unnecessarily, if council members are as tech savvy as their official portrait suggests). "The most common website is vacationrentalbyowner.com. There are some concerns of the neighboring property owners about the frequency of persons renting those facilities the turnover who is actually occupying it."

Currently, University Park has no rules addressing such rentals, and the council didn't change that when they met Tuesday night. They did, however, unanimously vote to kick the matter to a zoning committee to draft regulations.

Over at Candy's Dirt, Joanna England digs through the Park Cities listings at Airbnb and comes up with three.

Clearly an epidemic, but UP isn't going to wait around and be overrun by vacationers too cheap to pay for a hotel. So, they join a growing list of cities and states grappling with how to regulate a tech-driven business model that disrupts not only the lodging industry but also the traditional use of single-family homes.

In that sense, it's sort of like the Uber situation in Dallas, only without the vice raids and the hijacking of city government by Yellow Cab, giving some amount of hope that UP will craft intelligent regulations.

(h/t Candy's Dirt, Park Cities People)

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.

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43 comments
slakr
slakr

Good thing they're cracking down on this, because it's absolutely essential to protect you from... oh look over there! Is that a squirrel? Wow, squirrels are cool. Oh, and rabbits. They're adorable when they're babies, right? Agree with me! AGREE WITH ME! My god you have to or else I won't get paid by the hospitality sponsors or be popular with my elitist friends.

gr888
gr888

When Church groups want to stay at a home for the weekend, is UP shutting the door on religious groups?

gr888
gr888

So is UP going to shut down Hotel Lumen, Park Cities Hilton, and SMU Housing?

rusknative
rusknative

staying in HP/UP would be such an overrated experience....boring, and the neighbors are aholes too.

NotReallyThanks
NotReallyThanks

Sounds like Eric is bitter that he rents and that no one is clamoring for a chance at the authentic barrio experience of being shot with paintball guns while living in substandard housing. 


holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Hotel/motel occupancy taxes are a huge revenue generator for both a municipality and a state. The state charges 6%.  I don't know what UP charges (probably 7% or more) but this peer-to-peer thing is like Uber.  The city doesn't get their cut, nor does the state if they can't catch them.  Plus, hotels and motels pay a lot in property taxes.  Every room night lost to one of these reduces the lodging facility's ability to remain profitable in a highly competitive environment.  Finally, transient lodging is typically not a legal use in residential zoning districts.  The neighbors are going to complain.  It is a non-conforming use.

So for those of you who think Amazon or internet retailers in general should have to pay local sales tax, you would be consistent in being against people letting out their homes w/o paying The Man.

But I don't think you can be for one but not the other.

rudyiii
rudyiii

NOOOO. This is not okay. Airbnb is definitely awesome and beneficial for so many! The sharing economy is heavily underway people! Get it together, stop blaming the president, and feel free to attend your city council meetings to stop these messy people from blocking such useful resources. Blocking things like this simply flushes opportunity out from under the feet of so many, whether that is the opportunity for the people hosting to make money or the opportunity for those visiting to have a great time in a different type environment, and trust me the Airbnb environments are extraordinary. Yes, I would choose this option over a hotel any day. Yes this is America, the "land of opportunity" and it needs to stay that way. Innovation should never come to a halt or be stripped from right under us.

sversky
sversky

These Peer to Peer companies are the way of the future.  It benefits both the provider and user.  It helps us as a community to utilize the resources we have and prevents us from being so wasteful.  Empty room not being used here go ahead and rent it from me for a few days I am not using it.  Need my car?  I am not using it go ahead and rent it from me...  


We need to stop blocking innovation.  Change can be scary but change is inevitable and it keeps us moving forward.  Do not block this. 

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

I woulda thought all those free-market-capitalist-property-rights-small-government-repub types in UP would think these things would be great.

Hmm.

Izabela-Artist-Designer
Izabela-Artist-Designer

Most of this wouldn't even be happening if it wasn't for all the financial mess, which the government didn't feel the need to butt into, yet a small guy tries to keep his house or make some extra cash on the side to pay the bills and suddenly it's all the business of the government. If the residents happen to be lovely, respectful people, whose business is this? If they are terrorizing the neighborhood, then I would be the first one to call the cops and get that issue resolved.

veruszetec
veruszetec

Are you telling me that traditional industries feel threatened by crowdsourced, technology-driven start-ups that are creative and agile enough to achieve success leveraging innovative technology against traditional industry?

I AM SHOCKED, SHOCKED I TELL YOU.

sversky
sversky

Times are changing and the laws need to change with it.  AirBNB is an awesome service and it is the way of the future.

zerromi
zerromi

"There are some concerns of the neighboring property owners about the frequency of persons renting those facilities the turnover who is actually occupying it."

And this affects them... how, exactly? Assuming that things that aren't already forbidden for other reasons (noise violations, vandalizing neighbors' property, etc.) aren't occurring, I'm not seeing the genesis of this "concern" aside from rich white NIMBYism.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

This is a land use question, it isn't anything close to a "sort of like the Uber situation". people currently use online services to sell or lease their property and no city (inc UP) is attempting to curtail this activity.

If the residential housing is being utilized like a hotel with short term stays for a fee, they are not conforming to the city code on land use. they are operating as a hotel and must adhere to the regs inherent in that use of a property.

what makes sense is to set a minimum time of lease, say 30 days, that maintains the integrity of a residential neighborhood.

Neighbordownthest
Neighbordownthest

the bills are getting paid, I.E. escrows, taxes, insurance, ISD's... what does it matter if it's short term'd or not?? It's the property owners lega right to do what ever they feel like doing short or long term leasing. Just beacuse the owners have found a way to keep they home when they get in a bind, UP just looking for a way to make a buck again....

UPrenter
UPrenter

@rusknative I rent a flat in UP and my upstairs neighbors are really nice.  They baked muffins for us when we moved in. 

kayo
kayo

@holmantx Thanks for explaining in detail why this type of nice, mutually beneficial  transaction will soon be sullied by taxes and regulation.

xmantx
xmantx

@sversky yes, the sharing economy is here to stay. Free enterprise - keep it going!

TexMarine
TexMarine

@Montemalone What makes you think that people in UP are how you describe them? I'm sure Lisa Blue and the money that paid for John Edwards baby mamma drama would beg to differ.

dingo
dingo

@Montemalone  

So, Republicans are for assessing the viability of certain zoning laws. 

Wow. Stop the presses.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@Izabela-Artist-Designer 

In the 30s through the 50s, homes actively advertised in the newspaper here in Dallas (and across the country) for boarders.  Rooms to let to peaceful and respectful young gentlemen and ladies.

We should get back to that until we can get control of our governments.

dingo
dingo

@zerromi  

I'm not seeing the genesis of this "concern" aside from rich white NIMBYism.....

Pull your head out and you will find concern among diverse municipalities, RACIST.

sversky
sversky

@mavdog The law needs to change with the times.  Less regulation.  These peer-to-peer companies enable us to use the resources we already have to help someone else out while you benefit as well.  It keeps cars off the road.  It keeps more over sized hotels from being built.  It keeps us from being so wasteful and also brings us closer as a society and gets people out of their tiny boxes that they live in.

Tipster1908
Tipster1908

this isn't Houston. it's called zoning.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@juanmayeaux @holmantx 

Patel means innkeeper in India.  It's a region of that country.

I respect their motivation.

80% of the Asian Hotel Motel Association of America has the last name - Patel.  It is a science.

casiepierce
casiepierce

@kayo @holmantx It's not really fair. It's like rental properties in Dallas, where when they have a turnover and come in and rip out the carpets and whatever is left and dump it on the curb a week after bulky trash has picked up. Or, people who run perpetual yard sales. It is a blight on the community, and costs the taxpayers (when the City has to send a special truck to pick up their garbage), and probably bring property values down. You don't see this kind of crap in affluent communities, no, you see this instead. You wanna run a business? Great! Do it somewhere else besides a single-family neighborhood.

Tipster1908
Tipster1908

I didn't take it to be a comment that the proposed ordinance was directed at keeping out other races. it was simply a comment that the people exercising the NIMBYism in this case are almost exclusively rich and white, if you look at the census data for UP.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@sversky 

I disagree "the law needs to change with the times", for the "law" in this case is to protect the integrity of what the neighborhood is...single family residences. zoning use restrictions are not a problem, they are a benefit.

most people would not have a favorable view of their neighbor renting their rooms out by the day, or what about by the hour? that is certainly not what a neighborhood of residential housing was designed for, or what a homeowner in a residential development moved to be a part of.

I have no problem at all with an AirBnB that links appropriately designated accomodations to users of those facilities. single family residential dwellings are not designated for this type of commerce, nor are they in an area that is conducive.

UPrenter
UPrenter

@stealur1 @UPrenter @rusknative There are a lot of rented duplexes in UP west of Preston between University and Lovers. Many are divided horizontally -- one unit on the first floor and one on the second.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@casiepierce @kayo @holmantx 

move away.

It's what those who just won't to deal with it, but don't want to argue.

somewhere in an unincorporated area of some 254 counties of this great state.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@NotReallyThanks @holmantx @Izabela-Artist-Designer 

Reality rams into political correctness.  

It would be "troublesome" to choke down those in need of the habitat of last resort.

Lakewooders, Parkers and others who may would otherwise advertise for newly-minted adults need to be taxed appropriately.

Moi?

sversky
sversky

@mavdog 
 You obviously do not understand the concept of Airbnb and how it operates.  It isn't ANY different than having company over for a few days.   You can't rent by the HOUR there are daily minimums and not anyone can use this service.  I have used it in other cities in single family residential dwellings and not only is it more convenient is always helps travelers live in a culture they aren't used to allowing them to have a better understanding and appreciation for that particular community.  It also teaches us as a society to quit being so wasteful.  

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