Short-Term Rentals (STR)

Updated: Dec. 6, 2022

What's the update

Today, the City Council directed staff to keep the current Zoning Ordinance regulation which does not allow Short Term Rentals, or STR, in residential zoning districts and requires a zoning change for STR use.

An STR, sometimes referred to as a “vacation rental,” is a residential property available for rent for guest lodging for a period ranging from one to 29 days. STRs exist in residential districts in Fort Worth, where they are not allowed.

Additionally, the City Council heard a briefing on regulation options regarding Short Term Rentals or STR’s and asked staff to bring forward a registration ordinance and process for legal STRs. An STR registration ordinance is currently being drafted. The ordinance would require registration with an annual fee, payment of hotel occupancy taxes, property owner consent, and a 24/7 local contact. Only legal STRs are able to register. 

What happens next?

Staff will share the draft registration ordinance later this month and anticipates bringing it to the City Council for consideration in late January.

Code Compliance will resume enforcement of zoning violations on a complaint basis, regardless of nuisance violations, and will communicate with property owners with active cases in the coming weeks.

What has taken place so far?

Following the launch of a Short-Term Rental webpage last July, the City of Fort conducted two engagement opportunities. The meetings are recorded on the City website and YouTube.

Data Mining Report on STRs

Image of Short Term Rental report dashboard

Click to enlarge image(JPG, 2MB)

Last summer, City staff selected a firm to identify short-term rentals currently operating in the city.

Deckard Technologies Inc. identified 68 legal short-term rental properties and 565 properties where potential illegal short-term rental use is occurring. Over the past year, there have been 814 properties that operated as short-term rentals, with more than 2,400 listings. The Report can be found here(PDF, 9MB).


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a short-term rental (STR)

Short-term rentals are residential properties available for rent for guest lodging for a period ranging from 1 to 29 days.

Where are STRs currently allowed in Fort Worth?

  • Mixed-use and most form-based districts, commercial and industrial districts with a Certificate of Occupancy from the Development Services Department.
    • They are not allowed in residential districts, such as those zoned single-family, two-family and multi-family areas.

Use the Interactive Zoning Portal to learn where STRs are allowed or view the Interactive Zoning Map with layers to understand the zoning requirements.

 

How are zoning violations for STRs currently enforced?

The city’s Code Compliance Department investigates on a complaint basis. When violations are observed, warning/citations are issued to property owners. The city cannot issue citations based on advertisements or online bookings alone.

What are the City’s goals related to this process?

  1. Preserve residential quality of neighborhoods and protect from commercial lodging encroachment.
  2. Ensure health and safety of guests and residents.
  3. Support tourism in a balanced way.
  4. Preserve residential housing supply.
  5. Collect Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) from legal STRs.
  6. Minimize impact on staff and recover costs for code enforcement.

Proposed options continue to be revised and vetted as litigation across the nation shapes the short-term rental discussion and regulations.

 

Proposed registration for legal STRs:

As part of the changes being considered, staff recommends requiring registration for all legal STRs. The registration would include the following provisions:

  • Annual fee to cover city costs (platform and enforcement)
  • HOT collection (cannot be used for administration or enforcement)
  • Property owner registers/consents; registration non-transferrable
  • 24/7 local contact
  • One guest/group at a time
  • Limited to 3 people/bedroom, max of 9 people
  • On-site parking only
  • No events/parties; no outdoor gatherings or music after 10 p.m.
  • Require Good Neighbor Guide (comply with noise, trash, parking ordinances)
  • Registration placed on probation or revoked based on violations
  • Advertising an STR is prima facie evidence of STR use.

 

Last summer, four options were taken out for public input. Council will receive updated information on the options available to them at their December 6 Work Session.

During the Dec. 6, 2022 Work Session, City briefed the City Council on proposed registration and operating standards for legal short-term rentals and on revised zoning options for case-by-base Conditional Use Permits for short-term rentals illegally operating in residential zoning districts. The City Council directed staff to keep the current Zoning Ordinance regulation which does not allow Short Term Rentals, or STRs, in residential zoning districts and requires a zoning change for STR use.

 

These are the four options that were previously presented. 

Option 1: Current Ordinance – Continue to require zoning change for STRs in residential zoning to PD Planned Development, mixed-use or commercial zoning.

Option 2: Treat owner-occupied STRs as Bed and Breakfast Homes. This would require conditional use permit with a 5-year time limit. It would not be allowed in single-family zoning; only allowed with a conditional use permit in 2-family and multi-family zoning with 400 ft. separation. Treat investor-owned STRs similar to Bed and Breakfast Inns and require conditional use permit (CUP) with five-year time limit and would not allow single-family zoning; only allowed with CUP in high-density multi-family. Would continue to require zoning change for all STRs in single-family zoning.

Option 3: Allow owner-occupied STRs by conditional use permit in all residential districts, up to 5-10% of block or multifamily building. Allow investor-owned STRs by conditional use permit in multifamily districts, up to 5-10% of block or multifamily building. Continue to require zoning change for all others.

Option 4: Allow owner-occupied STRs by right in certain neighborhoods or citywide, up to 5-10% of block or multifamily building and fewer than 30 booking nights per year. Require a conditional use permit or zoning change for all others.