Pearland to govern short-termrentals
The number of active short-term rental properties in the city of Pearland has fluctuated between 100 to 200 since the beginning of 2019, the highest among neighboring cities aside from Galveston.
BY ANDY YANEZ
meeting. “People arrive at all times of the day and night.” The committee in early December brought a list of recommendations that eventually served as the outline for the ordinance council adopted April 11. Council held a public drafting of the ordinance in February where members gave their input on what should be included in the ordinance. City staff also used previous court cases as guides to crafting an ordi- nance that is both within the city’s legal authority and effective at regu- lating short-term rentals. Under the ordinance, the city can regulate short-term rentals in four phases: permit applications, inspec- tion requirements, restrictions, and permit denial or revocation, Pearland City Attorney Darrin Coker said. The citywill also collect 7%of all rev- enue from short-term rentals through the hotel occupancy tax. The tax is collected from hoteliers and used to market Pearland to generate overnight stays, according to the PCVB. The number of short-term rental properties has increased 41.6% since mid-2020 from an average of 113 prop- erties per quarter to an average of 160 in the first three months of 2022. The ordinance will regulate short-term rental properties on platforms such as Airbnb, which makes up about 85% of the short-term rentals in Pearland, according to AirDNA. Some regulations in place through the ordinance include occupancy lim- its to two adults per room and 10 total per property. Additionally, each room needs to have two means of escape, like a door and window; working smoke and carbon monoxide detec- tors. All advertisements must explic- itly say parties are prohibited at the property. Airbnb Public Policy Manager Luis Briones said in an email Airbnb favors Pearland’s regulations. “This is a fair ordinance that bal- ances regulation with empowering our local host community to con- tinue earning meaningful additional income and responsibly bringing important tourism dollars to the city,” Briones said. Ordinance concerns Throughout the ordinance process, Pearland residents spoke during City Council meetings about concerns hap- pening in their local neighborhoods, one of which was about a property
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The city of Pearland will soon regu- late and collect hotel occupancy taxes from anyone operating a short-term rental property, which can be found on vacation rental websites such as Airbnb or Vrbo, within city limits. Pearland City Council at its April 11 meeting passed an ordinance estab- lishing requirements and regulations to operate short-term rentals within city limits. The ordinance is the cul- mination of an odyssey among resi- dents, council members and city staff. City officials said they hope the ordinance gives the city more flexibil- ity in controlling disturbances, such as complaints raised by Pearland res- idents for parking and noise issues, in neighborhoods throughout the city. “This ordinance in it of itself is not going to stop a party from happening, … but it does give us some recourse in the event if it does,” Pearland Mayor Kevin Cole said. With the ordinance’s effective date set for July 1, city staff will work on how to implement it, including work- ing on the online permit process, figuring out what is a violation and developing an information page on the city’s website, said Tracy Rohr- bacher, Pearland Convention and Vis- itors Bureau executive director. As of April 19, there were 124 active rentals in the city of Pearland, accord- ing to data from AirDNA, an analytics company that tracks short-term rental properties worldwide. The platform considers a property an active rental if it has had at least one reserved or available day in the past month. “This is going tobe imperfect,”Coun- cil Member Alex Kamkar said of the ordinance. “Our ordinances were not prepared to have a business in a resi- dential area that is high volume, and we are having to evolve with society.” Road to regulation City Council on Oct. 11 passed a resolution establishing a committee tasked with evaluating regulatory options, such as permitting, inspec- tion and occupancy requirements. Council on Oct. 25 then passed an ordinance creating a requirement for a registration program to oper- ate short-term rentals within the city along with a requirement to pay hotel occupancy taxes to the city. “Airbnbs are for the vacation life,” Pearland resident Melissa Flores said during citizen comment at the Oct. 11
135 27 160 37 AVERAGE STR IN Q1 2022 4,934 134 35 36
0 Q1 2019 Q3 2019 Q1 2020 Q3 2020 Q1 2021 Q3 2021 Q1 2022 200
0 Q1 2019 Q3 2019 Q1 2020 Q3 2020 Q1 2021 Q3 2021 Q1 2022 *ACTIVE RENTALS ARE THOSE THAT HAD AT LEAST ONE RESERVED OR AVAILABLE DAY IN THE LAST MONTH.
RULES & REGULATIONS
WHAT OTHER CITIES ARE DOING TO REGULATE SHORT-TERM RENTALS SUGAR LAND Since 2008, the use of a property as a short-term rental is not allowed within the city’s residential zoning districts.
With the passing of the ordinance, which goes into effect July 1, owners of short-term rental properties in Pearland must abide by several rules. Owners will need to register and obtain a permit with the city.
Owners must pay hotel occupancy taxes equal to 7% of their properties’ revenue. Each room needs two means of escape and must be rented out for at least 24 hours. There must be off-street parking for at least one motor vehicle per bedroom. The property needs to have a 24-hour emergency contact person.
There are no regulations for short-term rentals.
Since 2019, the city requires short-term rental operators to be registered, pay hotel occupancy taxes and obtain a permit.
Working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are required.
Since 2007, residential rental property owners must register each rental unit with the city and renew the registration on an annual basis with a fee of $50 per single family rental unit or $20 per apartment.
All advertisements must explicitly prohibit parties.
Occupancy limits must be set at two guests per bedroom and 10 total per property.
OCCUPANCY TAX COLLECTIONS Pearland estimates it will collect tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax revenue from short- term rentals annually based on its 7% hotel occupancy tax. Revenue is based on factors like average daily rate, average days on the market and number of homes.
Average daily rate $142 Average days occupied 180
Number of rentals 110-275 City revenue $98K-$246K
SOURCES: AIRDNA; CITIES OF PEARLAND, SUGAR LAND, FRIENDSWOOD, LEAGUE CITY, MISSOURI CITY/ COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM
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