JudicialLocal NewsFort Worth Adopts Registration Requirement for Short-Term Rentals

Fort Worth adopted a registration requirement and regulations for legally operating short-term rentals within specific zoning areas of the city.
February 16, 2023
The City of Fort Worth adopted a new short-term rental (STR) ordinance at its city council meeting on Tuesday, February 14.

The ordinance requires that STR properties be registered with the city, including an initial fee of $150 and an annual renewal fee of $100.

Only properly-zoned STRs may register and be legally recognized by the city. If an STR is in a zoning district where its operation is not currently allowed, the owner may apply for a zoning change. They are allowed to operate in mixed-use, commercial, and industrial zones.

STRs will be required to pay the hotel occupancy tax of nine percent due to the city.

Other regulations include parking restrictions, a limit on the number of occupants, a prohibition of events and parties, and a requirement that a local operator be available to handle concerns that arise.

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Failure to comply with the STR ordinance could result in the revocation of the registration.

Members of the public expressed support for and opposition to the regulation at Tuesday’s council meeting.

“This is a property rights issue,” resident Michael Mayes told the city council. “You are reducing the amount people can make in this time of need.”

Mayor Mattie Parker acknowledged that there is still a lot of frustration among community members about STRs and welcomed input on the “evolving issue.”

Fort Worth estimates that it has over 800 STRs operating within the city, over 500 of which are not allowed under the city’s zoning regulations.

If an STR is operating outside a permitted zone, the city’s code enforcement department can only investigate it and issue citations based on complaints. It can not issue citations based on advertisements or online bookings only.

The city began considering a change to its STR policies last summer and proposed a variety of regulatory schemes.

However, in December it changed course to only focus on adopting registration requirements after considering the legal and legislative atmosphere surrounding STR property uses.

On August 22, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit found that a New Orleans ordinance that distinguished between owner-occupied and investor-owned STRs was unconstitutional because it discriminated against out-of-state individuals in violation of Article I’s Commerce Clause.

In a case involving Grapevine, the Second Court of Appeals in Fort Worth found that the city’s zoning ordinance allowed STRs as a residential use and that the homeowners made viable claims about their rights under the Texas Constitution.

The case is currently being appealed to the Texas Supreme Court by the City of Grapevine.

The City of Arlington regulated STRs but did not ban them outright. The Second Court of Appeals allowed the city to continue its enforcement of its STR regulations.

“The Zoning Ordinance’s prohibition against STRs outside the STR Zone and medium-to-high-density residential areas is rationally related to legitimate governmental interests,” the opinion stated.

The Texas Supreme Court declined to review the homeowners’ petition on appeal.

In June 2022, the City of Keller considered an STR policy and reached a consensus that it should keep regulation as minimal as possible. Mayor Armin Mizani expressed his desire to strike a balance between protecting property owners’ rights to use their property as they see fit and their neighbors’ rights to enjoy their own property as well.

Rep. Bobby Guerra (D-McAllen) filed House Bill 1496 to require that STRs disclose all taxes and fees charged as part of the rental.


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Kim Roberts

Kim Roberts is a regional reporter for the Texan in the DFW metroplex area where she has lived for over twenty years. She has a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School and a Bachelor's in government from Angelo State University. In her free time, Kim home schools her daughter and coaches high school extemporaneous speaking and apologetics. She has been happily married to her husband for 23 years, has three wonderful children, and two dogs.