Pearland City Council will consider an ordinance sometime in early 2022 to enforce regulations on short-term rental owners within the city.

City Council was presented Dec. 13 with recommendations from an ad hoc committee that was established in October to evaluate regulatory options the city could implement on short-term rentals. The recommendations included three main components: permitting requirements, safety and inspections; and specific regulations.

“Bottom line, it should be inspected by the city, and it should have the same restrictions as anything that goes on like in a hotel,” City Council Member Woody Owens said.

The committee recommended an annual permit that would be renewed every year and would only be able to be obtained by the owner of a property. In addition, property owners would need to go through initial and renewal inspections by the Pearland Fire Marshal’s office.

There would also be specific regulations that short-term rentals would need to follow, which include no external signage, occupancy limitations, parking limitations, no rentals to anyone under the age of 21 and a ban on using the property as a party or entertainment venue.

In previous council meetings, several residents have spoken out about specific issues with short-term rentals, such as them being used for parties and causing noise and traffic issues in the neighborhoods. In addition, hotel operators in Pearland have argued to council about wanting short-term rentals to be regulated because they have an unfair advantage over hotels in regards to safety expectations and taxes that hotels have to pay.

City Council previously approved an ordinance that created a requirement for a registration program to operate short-term rentals within the city and eventually bring a requirement for short-term rental property owners to pay hotel occupancy taxes, or HOT, to Pearland.

While council did not take any action during the Dec. 13 meeting, members discussed the committee’s recommendations.

Council Member Alex Kamkar said he wants the ordinance to have a narrow focus that can be strictly applied when violated. He also voiced safety concerns over some of the committee recommendations, including one that required short-term rentals to submit at least a sketch of the residence’s floor plans.

Kamkar said making floor plans of private homes public record opens the door to more security issues. Council Member Luke Orlando said he wants the city and council to have the ability to punish any short-term rental owner causing problems while not making it too difficult for those who are operating responsibly.

Pearland City Attorney Darrin Coker and his staff will now be tasked with drafting an ordinance to present to council in late January or February, Pearland Mayor Kevin Cole said.

“How can we give ourselves the tools as a city to address these nuisance properties? ... At the same time, you have that guy, who is a huge jerk and doesn’t care about his neighbors and has been thorn in their side for years,” Orlando said. “I think you also have other people, a grandma or parents trying to put their kid through college that nobody even knows about because they’re not being jerks.”