Nearly two dozen Lewisville residents took advantage of a second chance to discuss short-term rentals.

Lewisville City Council held a special meeting Nov. 27, a follow-up from a public hearing held Oct. 16.

No action was taken from the meeting, though proposed changes were discussed and action could be taken as soon as January, City Manager Claire Powell said. She said currently single-family housing does not have a durational period in the current ordinance and this will be done to define the regulation between that type of dwelling and a short-term rental.

What’s happening

The hearing was held to get feedback from residents about properties being rented out for short-term stays though booking sites such as Airbnb and Vrbo, according to city documents.

Lewisville does not have any restrictions on rentals. Powell said there has been an increase in the number of short-term rentals listed online.

The city has seen an 86% increase in short-term rental properties since January 2020, according to data collected by city staff.

City officials are studying possible regulations for short-term rentals, particularly in residential neighborhoods.

The context

Many of the citizens that spoke during the meeting wore white T-shirts that said "Homes Not Hotels."

Many citizens cited concerns about parking, disturbances and safety in current short-term rentals.

Powell noted there have been 90 notated short-term rental properties located. There are additionally 16 private rooms for rent. In January 2020, there were 51 known short-term rental properties. There are 93 as of July 2023. She noted 56% of the owners of the short-term rentals are Lewisville residents.

The details

Lewisville reviewed ordinances from other municipalities across the state, such as Dallas, Fort Worth, Grapevine, Arlington and New Braunfels, Powell said.

The framework for an ordinance would be a temporary ban for one year to further study the issues. If approved by council, it would not prevent the operation of existing short-term rentals.

She said an application fee was still in the works but would range from $300-$500 for a one-year permit. A permit could be revoked for a number of issues, including three convictions for violations of federal, state or local laws. If a renter gets a ticket and conviction, that would count toward the property owner, Powell said. If a permit is revoked, the property owner would have to wait a year to reapply.

She said the one-year ban would be effective upon council action in January, if passed.

What else?

Powell noted that permits would be needed before owners can advertise or rent short-term rental properties. Other caveats would include the property passing inspection, meeting local, state and federal laws and the owner of the property must be current on all property taxes. A property manager must be identified and able to respond to location within one hour if requested by city staff and reachable by phone within 15 minutes, according to the presentation.

Occupancy limits would be based on the International Property Maintenance Code. Powell showed four examples of short-term rentals currently posted on Airbnb:
  • Example 1: 2,492 square feet, four-bedroom house with estimated occupancy of 12. Code would allow eight.
  • Example 2: 2,776 square feet, five-bedroom house with estimated occupancy of 16. Code would allow 10.
  • Example 3: 3,756 square feet, five-bedroom house with estimated occupancy of 14: Code would allow 13.
  • Example 4: 2,292 square feet, five-bedroom house with estimated occupancy of 16-plus. Code would allow eight.
What they’re saying

“We will not have the perfect ordinance,” Council Member Brandon Jones said. “But we will do something. Doing nothing is not an option. I think this is the first step in doing something. We are not wanting to keep anyone from running their short-term rental within the rules but we have to have short-term rental rules and guard rails up. If we don’t have guard rails we will continue down this perpetual road where we have more people [coming] and we don’t know who is good or bad. Let’s set the rules and let’s go.”