A sign against short-term rentals. Photo by Emil T. Lippe.

A Dallas County judge temporarily blocked the city’s regulations for short-term rentals (STRs) including Airbnbs and Vrbos in single-family residential neighborhoods.

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Dallas City Council passed the ordinance redefining short-term rentals (STRs) as lodging or hotel use. STRs are now prohibited in areas zoned as single-family residential neighborhoods with the exception of multifamily complexes of 20 or more units, not to exceed 5% of units.

“The city is considering its options regarding an appeal of the temporary injunction,” city attorney Tammy Palomino said in a statement. “In the meantime, the city will continue enforcement of its existing ordinances governing minimum property standards, disturbing noises and private nuisances.”

This summer, the Dallas City Council banned short-term rentals in single-family residential neighborhoods, providing residents a six-month window to create an action plan. As expected, a group of STR operators filed a lawsuit in October, challenging the ordinances and sought a temporary injunction (TI) to prevent enforcement.

For years, city council has been part of this ongoing conversation about STR regulations. Earlier this year, city council approved zoning changes and regulations for STR registration. These enforced owners to register their listings, obtain inspections, renewal, revocation and pay associated fees.

“We want to be part of an ongoing group of people committed to raising their children and being part of a local community,” Jean McAulay, president of the Lower Greenville neighborhood association said about an informal STR neighborhood survey conducted when. “This doesn’t happen if your next-door neighbor is someone different every day or every week who’s renting while passing through town.”

Residents who believe a STR is violating laws or ordinances in their neighborhood can report it to 911 or 311, similar to regular disturbance calls. They can also contact their council member about any STR-related concerns. All of this will help with the appeal for the trial to make a case.

“I’m disappointed that some neighbors are still dealing with disturbances at properties that are flouting even basic city rules,” said District 13 City Council member Gay Donnell Willis in a statement. “The important thing is that the city took the first step toward neighborhood peace on June 14, though we knew there could be a legal battle ahead. Rest assured that the unwavering commitment to protecting single-family neighborhoods from hotel use remains.”

The trial to possibly appeal the ordinances is set for June 2024.