Fort Worth officials are considering further restrictions on short term rentals, including the enforcement of a neighborhood ban, in an attempt to come to terms with the growth of platforms like Airbnb and HomeAway. The city seems amendable to short term rentals since they could generate sizable tax revenue.
Short term rentals are already banned in residential neighborhoods throughout the city, though it has been suggested that this law is rarely, if ever, enforced. Despite this restriction, the city had anywhere from about 800 to more than 1,200 listings a month last year.
According to data and analytics company AirDNA, there are currently over 1,300 current rentals in Forth Worth, with an occupancy rate of 61 percent and an average monthly revenue of nearly $2,000.
“Essentially everywhere but residential [zoning districts], we allow short-term rentals,” said Randle Harwood, Fort Worth planning and development director, during a September presentation to City Council.
Fort Worth Council Member Cary Moon issued a one-question poll on his website last month, asking city residents if they thought short term rentals should be allowed in neighborhoods and, if so, whether the city should have regulatory authority.
Throughout the state, legislators have been filing bills to prohibit cities from banning short term rentals, likely due to a potential tax windfall, according to Community Impact Newspaper.
“If we have to have [short term rentals] and the state says we have to permit them, then our role is to regulate,” Moon said. “And when we regulate, we’ve got to make sure they pay taxes, and we’ve got to make sure the places have certain safety and building standards.”
Despite the neighborhood ban, platforms such as Airbnb have been something of a financial windfall for Fort Worth residents, with these residents pocketing around $7.9 million in supplemental income from July 1, 2018, to July 1, 2019, according to Airbnb Public Affairs Specialist Sam Randall.
Companies like Airbnb and HomeAway also collect hotel occupancy taxes for the state, according to the Texas comptroller of public accounts. Airbnb has taken this one step further and recently entered into an agreement with Plano, Texas to do the same locally on the city’s behalf.
Council Member Moon has suggested that Forth Worth could try to enter into a similar arrangement with Airbnb, noting that it could bring in about $1 million-$1.4 million in annual revenue.
Fort Worth council members are conducting individual research about short term rentals in their districts, according to Moon. The District 4 council member said he is considering further safety and tax regulations instead of an outright ban.
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