For immediate release
HB 2789 and HB 2367 to impose short-term rentals and party houses in cities across Texas, destroying neighborhoods, quality of life and safety for residents
TX Neighborhood Coalition to provide testimony against both bills at Land and Resource Management Hearing in the State Capital on Wednesday, March 29.
HB 2789 would force cities to accept two dwellings on every single-family residential lot, allowing the second unit to be used as a short-term rental. HB 2367 would open the doors for investors to operate houses as hourly commercial event venues.
(Arlington, TX—March 28, 2023)—The TX Neighborhood Coalition, a grassroots volunteer organization that helps homeowners get short-term rentals out of their residential neighborhoods, today is formally announcing its opposition to eight anti-neighborhood bills in the Texas House and Senate, which would allow uncontrolled growth of short-term rentals and commercial party houses. Each of these bills is a power grab to undermine local control for land use and zoning decisions in residential neighborhoods.
The eight anti-neighborhood bills are:
• Party house bills: HB2367 and SB1466. These can only be described as the “right to operate a party house” bills. Texas cities could not prevent single-family homes from being used as permanent hourly party venues for weddings, banquets, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and swim parties.
• ADU/short-term rental bills: HB 2789 and SB1412. These bills would mandate that cities statewide accept second dwellings (called Accessory Dwelling Units) on all properties zoned as single-family residential and prohibit any local restrictions, including using these buildings as mini-hotels or party houses.
• STRs everywhere bill: HB2665. This bill would strip all Texas cities of their legal ability to regulate short-term rentals using their respective zoning ordinances.
• Airbnb immunity bills: SB1461 and HB4643. These bills have the seemingly innocent titles of “Regulation of Online Global Marketplaces,” but contain sweeping provisions that would negatively impact residential neighborhoods by providing short-term rental companies broad immunity.
• Preempt anything commercial bill: SB149. This bill is so sweeping in stripping away the powers of municipalities to govern that it would broadly nullify past actions by cities to protect residential neighborhoods from abusive behaviors associated with short-term rentals.
Any one of these bills could turn every residential neighborhood in Texas into a collection of unstaffed mini-hotels and entertainment venues—often with tragic consequences. (See the media coverage of a recent gunfight at a Plano short-term rental at http://bit.ly/3lymmwf.)
“If any of these misguided bills were ever passed into law, they would wreck neighborhoods across the state—and earn the undying fury of Texas homeowners,” said David Schwarte, co-founder, TX Neighborhood Coalition. “Traditional residential neighborhoods where people live side-by-side for years would cease to exist, as nearby homes would turn into a collection of boarding houses and event centers.”
“Those who argue in favor of these sorts of bills to nullify local zoning ordinances defend them with the rhetoric that this is a matter of ‘property rights,’ as if that claim were some sort of magic dust that made the property rights of all the other stakeholders disappear. Well, it doesn’t. The millions of homeowners who bought their homes in reliance on single-family zoning, and the rules that limit how zoning can be changed, have property rights too. Land use has for decades been a matter entrusted to cities. In short, our reliance on the current zoning restrictions that preclude commercial party houses is entirely justified,” said Schwarte.
How short-term rentals are so destructive for neighborhoods
Short-term rentals, like Airbnb and Vrbo, are rentals of less than 30 days for compensation. Numerous studies have shown that short-term rentals destroy the bonds of community, the hallmark of a thriving residential neighborhood. Long-term neighbors who are known, trusted, and often counted as friends are replaced with a revolving door of strangers.
Studies also confirm that short-term rentals contribute to increases in crime[i], in part because they undermine the effectiveness of CrimeWatch programs. Short-term rentals soak up housing stock in an already tight and expensive marketplace[ii]. And they price out ordinary would-be homeowners pitted against deep-pocketed commercial enterprises often making all-cash offers.
Why local control matters
The TX Neighborhood Coalition fully supports a city’s right to local control regarding land-use decisions affecting residential neighborhoods. Local officials know best their community and have to answer to local voters.
“Addressing the issue of short-term rentals is not one size fits all. What works in one city, such as a tourist destination, may be completely unacceptable in an established single-family neighborhood. City officials must have full power to craft zoning solutions tailored to their geography and local community needs,” said Schwarte.
About the TX Neighborhood Coalition
The TX Neighborhood Coalition is a grassroots organization that provides direction and guidance to local citizen groups seeking short-term rental restrictions and regulations in their residential neighborhoods. Our core mission is to help residents restore a sense of safety and community found in single-family neighborhoods. The TX Neighborhood Coalition began in 2019, following the successful implementation of a zoning ordinance that prohibits short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods in Arlington, TX. Today, we represent thousands of Texas voters in cities large and small. http://www.txneighborhoodcoalition.com