Arlington considers short-term vacation rental crackdown

The Arlington city council is considering cracking down on short-term vacation rentals with new regulations.

The short term rental market has become big business with AT&T Stadium, Globe Life Park and two big amusement parks in the city. Officials have been silent on the issue, but that seems likely to change.

Tiffany Morgan and her family recently moved back to Arlington. They love their new home, but they don’t love a constant stream of strangers at a home up the block listed on a short-term rental website.

“It's been like a revolving door,” Morgan said. “It's the same thing every time for two, three nights. Ten cars in the street, breaking glass, it's insane.”

Morgan was there Tuesday as Arlington city council members debated imposing restrictions on about 400 short-term rentals across the city. Councilman Charlie Parker's district has 70 vacation rentals, far more than other districts.

“I personally would be appalled one of these things moved in next door to me,” Parker said. “There is a lot of things that go wrong where the city will not be there to back me up.”

But councilwoman Roxanne Thalman said she was in favor of having the rentals inside city limits.

“I know that we have a few around town, maybe quite a few in district one with noise and people parking on the streets -- but those issues are not specific to short term rentals,” Thalman said.

Arlington homeowner Kitty Craig worries regulating short term rentals could be lead to regulating landlords of long-term rental properties.

“As someone who wants to become a property investor, having restrictions imposed on me in any form, violates my personal property rights and I'm totally against that,” Craig said.

Council members appear to be leaning toward some form of regulation -- like requiring permits for homeowners getting into the short-term rental market. But first they have to clearly define what is a short term rental.

“I'm open to some strict regulations and permits, but I don't foresee that being an easy thing to enforce,” Morgan said.

The council didn’t make any final decision during Tuesday’s meeting. They will likely take more comments from the public and take a vote at a meeting this summer.