Short Term Rentals currently in Plano
The Battle Over Short Term Rentals
“You shall own nothing and be happy.” This quote comes from the World Economic Forum. In Plano that quote is getting closer to becoming true. Plano is getting closer to more people renting their domiciles instead of owning them. One kind of rental that is causing problems for residents is the Short Term Rental.
You may have heard of some of the companies that do Short Term Rentals. Airbnb, VRBO, Homeaway, and Homestay are just a few of the platforms where people can rent a home for a short stay or vacation. Renting a home for a vacation is not new. People have rented beach or ski homes for vacations for decades. What is new is the internet platforms that make the renting process easier, and bring vacation rentals to cities that are not typical vacation destinations such as Plano. Unlike Aspen and Galveston, Plano is not a city that people would go to for a vacation. The majority of our residential units are occupied by full time residents. Also, unlike destination cities, Plano does not have the resources, organization, or regulations that a destination city has. Since Plano is not designed for vacation homes, residents are having problems with short term rentals in their neighborhoods. Some reported problems are, loud parties at all hours of the night, trash, parking problems, and illicit activities. In one short term rental the police broke up a sex trafficking ring. The rental in question is in a family neighborhood. You can read more about the arrest and problems with STRs at https://www.tncplano.org/post/sex-trafficking-ring-at-str-in-plano.
Personally, I have nothing against vacation rentals in general. I have rented one through Airbnb to go on a trip with one of my oldest friends. However, there is a time and place for vacation rentals. Plano’s residential neighborhoods is not one of those places, and our current zoning regulations agree.
Plano residents cannot do anything they want with their property. A person whose property is zoned for a single family home cannot use the property for a restaurant, bar, retail store, strip club, or hotel. According to Plano's own website,https://www.plano.gov/453/Hotel-Occupancy-Taxes
“A Hotel is any building or buildings in which the public may obtain sleeping accommodations for a cost of $2 or more each day for a consecutive duration of 30 days or less. This includes, without limitation:
The City of Plano's Hotel Occupancy Tax rate is 7%. The City's tax is in addition to the 6% rate imposed by the State of Texas, which must be remitted separately to the State. Airbnb started collecting hotel occupancy tax for Plano effective May 1, 2019. Homeaway, including VRBO and all other Expedia group platforms, started collecting hotel occupancy tax for Plano effective February 1, 2020. Hosts in the City of Plano not utilizing these platforms will need to charge their guests a 7% occupancy tax and remit payment to the City of Plano following the same instructions for hotels mentioned above.”
So, according to the city of Plano, Short Term Rentals are hotels, and the only residential districts that allow hotels are Urban Residential and Residential Community Design with a specific use permit. If a short term rental is anywhere else it is operating illegally and the city has an obligation to stop it. We have nearly 600 Short Term Rentals all over the city of Plano. Some are in the correct zoning and other are unlawful.
For over five months residents have been going to city council meetings asking the city to enforce the law. Yet the only thing the city has done is tell the residents to call the police if they have a noise problem from a loud party or other nuisances from a Short Term Rental.
Why is the city not enforcing the law? Well the answer, in my opinion, is simple… MONEY! If the city gets rid of the unlawful Short Term Rentals, they lose the hotel taxes.
What can you do to get the city to enforce the law? My first recommendation is to go to the TX Neighborhood Coalition Plano Chapter website and join them. https://www.tncplano.org/ . Next, contact all the city council members and demand they order the city staff to enforce the law. No one or thing is above the law, not even the City of Plano.
This is Plano’s Political Pit Bull signing off.
The yellow areas with the red dots are Urban Residential zoning. This is where Short Term Rentals are legally allowed in Plano out right.