Short term rental opens legal fight

Home owner faces neighborhood ordinances that threaten her AirBnB rental

WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - Short term renting of homes has grown in popularity over the last decade, which is why one woman is fighting neighborhood restrictions that stop her from renting her property.

“There’s nothing in the deed restrictions in the closing papers that says that you can’t do it,” Cathy Dodson said.

Dodson had to go to the county clerk’s office to see the deed restrictions that were filed in 1964 for the Willow Brook addition.

The filed paperwork says that homes can only be used for residential purposes, not for business, professional or commercial reasons.

“I’m not the only one in the neighborhood doing a home-based business,” she said. “People out here are doing a home-based business of their choice in the neighborhood, this is widely known.”

As a driver for Hallcon, Dodson can spend little to no time at home some days, only coming to sleep, making running the rentals seem like a perfect choice for her.

Until she received a letter telling her to stop or receive a restraining order.

“The bad thing about being a lawyer in a neighborhood is when the neighbors think something needs to be done they call the lawyer first,” neighbor representative Cyndi Schenk said.

Schenk is a neighbor to Dodson and is representing the neighbors, she points to the fact that the use of the house commercially as the key problem.

“No, I’m sure there was no VRBO in 1964 when Mr. Hirschi was the developer of Willow Brook addition, but commercial purposes are commercial purposes she’s receiving money,” she said.

Schenk and others worry about the possible guests and security for the neighborhood.

“She also quotes that ‘my street has a lot of expensive homes and you’re welcome to stroll along the sidewalks,’” Schenk said.

Dodson feels the complaints are surprising, as she never got a complaint from neighbors before the letter.

“I’m not allowed to know my accusers, they are persons, and the fact that she’s threatening me with a restraining order, I don’t know who I have offended,” Dodson said.

The city’s legal department told me that there are no problems from their side of things with short term rentals being run.

Dodson does have the potential to apply for changes to these restrictions with agreement from other homeowners in the neighborhood by December of this year.

Copyright 2019 Texoma News Network. All rights reserved.