ARLINGTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – The city of Arlington’s ban on the majority of short-term rentals is still standing after the latest legal challenge.

The Second District Court of Appeals in Fort Worth recently upheld the city of Arlington’s regulations for listings on sites like Airbnb and Vrbo.

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“We are quite encouraged by this,” said Dave Schwarte, an Arlington homeowner who helped found the Neighborhoods Are For Neighbors Coalition. “This decision is important for Arlington, of course, because what is means is we can continue to rely on the ordinance that allowed us to reclaim our neighborhoods.”

The Arlington City Council voted in 2019 to ban most short-term rentals across the city, except in the area surrounding the Entertainment District.

The Second District Court of Appeals dismissed claims from several Arlington homeowners that the city’s regulations violate their constitutional rights, which means the city can continue cracking down on Airbnb or Vrbo listings that pop up in single-family, residential neighborhoods.

Schwarte says these properties can bring wild parties, trash and even violence to otherwise quiet neighborhoods.

He believes the ruling could serve as a road map for other cities in North Texas.

“It means you have the power to regulate them and to get the misery out of your neighborhoods, if you do it right,” he said.

The City of Dallas has been considering stricter regulations on short-term rentals for more than a year, but has yet to take any new action.

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“Dallas doesn’t need to follow in anybody’s footsteps,” said Lisa Sievers, who operates two Airbnb properties in east Dallas. “What may be right for one city, may not necessarily be right for another city.”

Sievers is part of the Dallas STR Alliance, a group of hundreds of operators.

She says the short-term rental properties provide a critical income stream to some homeowners and bring value to local neighborhoods.

Sievers doesn’t believe operators should be punished with heavy-handed regulations because of a handful of bad actors.

“There’s no reason why the city of Dallas, everybody can’t coexist, and why we can’t all work together to address the true problem,” she said. “The true problem is the party houses that are out there.”

Airbnb and Vrbo are working together to remove repeat “party house” offenders from their platforms, in a new partnership called the Community Integrity Program.

They acknowledge those particular listings can be disruptive to neighborhoods but say they’re a very small minority of short-term rental properties.

Short-term rentals aren’t allowed in residential neighborhoods in Fort Worth. Hurst, Highland Park and Southlake have banned them altogether.

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(Originally Posted 7/21/2021)

Caroline Vandergriff