The Short-term Rental Solution
Our city leaders understand that short-term rentals are an important issue and they have been thoughtful in understanding it and proactive in creating reasonable regulations that protect neighborhoods and homeowners.
First, the Austin City Council commissioned an audit of homes in Austin offered for short-term rent to understand the true impact of these properties on neighborhoods. The findings of that audit revealed that Austin does not have a large number of short-term rentals nor do those properties generate more nuisance calls or criminal activity than other types of homes.
That Short-Term Rental Audit made it clear that STRs are not having a damaging impact on Austin neighborhoods. However, we want to be sure that remains the case, so Austin City Council Member Chris Riley presented a proposal that would create reasonable regulation of short-term rentals to protect neighborhoods and homeowners. That proposal was read before Austin City Council on June 7, 2012, and approved on a “first reading” by a vote of 5-2. In order to pass, it must be read and approved by the Council two more times.
According to Council Member Riley’s proposal, all short-term rentals would be required to register with the city. In addition, owners would provide proof of occupancy or a home inspection and they would be required to provide tenants with information about inhabiting the property, such as occupancy limits. All of this helps the city track short-term rentals to monitor the number of properties; ensures tenants are in safe properties and aware of the requirements to be good neighbors; and enables the city to collect hotel occupancy taxes.
In addition, the proposal limits the number of properties that can be offered for short-term rental in a given area by those who lease them for more than 90 days per year (cumulatively) or for homes in which the owner does not live. In those cases, only three percent of all single-family homes in a zip code may be offered for short-term rent. That ensures these properties never become a dominant type of housing within certain portions of Austin, protecting the fabric of our neighborhoods.