EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The El Paso City Council heard from concerned short term rental owners about the proposed ordinance that they said would affect their income. Short term rentals are defined by the city as residential units that are rented to overnight guests for no more than 30 days typically on sites like Airbnb and VRBO.

Currently there are 1,500 to 2,000 of these types of rental properties in El Paso. The ordinance would add restrictions that include: the owner has to have permit, 1 year term with a yearly renewal.

There would also be general standards like maximum occupant loads, minimum parking requirements, life safety components, tenant notification, paying city of El Paso’s hotel occupancy tax within 30 days of the effective date of the ordinance.

Those who are concerned about the ordinance like host Lauren Mlouhi, tried to express to city council that they are providing a necessity to the community.

“Most of us are just mom and pop looking for more income to spend more time with our families and have other means of income in addition to that were also housing travel nurses we have some anesthesiologist we have people coming to visit the state parks.”

What rental owners are most concerned is with one of the restrictions that would require 500 feet between each rental property. One rental owner, Heidy Seoenz, has over 30 properties and if the ordinance is passed, will be reduced to 7.

However, she is more concerned about owners who do not have as many properties as her.

“Most of the people in El Paso, I’m not the norm, they don’t have thirty properties, they only have one maybe two and the reason they decide to do Airbnb or get into the short-term rental industry it’s because they needed the supplemental income.” said Seonz.

Seoenz explains that these restrictions would not necessarily affect tourism, but family members of those stationed in El Paso who want a more comfortable stay.

“They come to visit their soldiers you know I have most of my properties around base because i understand that most of my market is on fort bliss like a lot of soldiers come here and are looking for a place to stay but they don’t want to stay at the barracks they want at a home where when their family comes and visits, they can actually enjoy some time.”

No decision has been made about the ordinance but El Paso Managing Director said that they will be looking at cities with similar rules in place to see if it could benefit El Paso and the rental owners.

“We want to make sure taking different ordinances into consideration what they’ve done what’s best for their city but really looking at what is right for El Paso and how we can work together with our short-term renters to make sure that it is fair and balanced.”

The city will be hosting public meetings in February to review potential regulations for short term rentals and to hear from the community about their concerns. For dates and times, you can find that information on their website.

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