Austin City Council May Soon Ban Most Short-Term Rentals

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Despite the fact that the Austin City Council passed in 2012 what many around the country consider to be model legislation on STRs (which allows the city plenty of leeway to enforce code violations and address problem properties), council is currently considering passing legislation that would effectively ban Type 2 STRs in Austin

Type 1 STR: Owner occupied single family, duplex or multifamily
Type 2 STR: Non owner occupied single family or duplex
Type 3 STR: Non owner occupied multifamily

For some reason, certain council members - especially Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo - seem to have it in for STRs in Austin. The primary concerns they raise are problem properties (despite the fact that data indicates that last year there were only 11 STRs with repeated noise/code violations, and that only 4 of these properties were Type 2 STRs) and that STRs take housing stock away from renters in Austin neighborhoods (I'm not convinced of the validity of that argument). 

It's not clear whether these are their real motivations, or whether perhaps the hotel industry lobby has their ear and is trying to squash short term rentals. But on October 15 at 10:00am, here are some of the items they will be discussing. They also can bring up any other items without notice or public input:

Council Member Pool's STR Resolutions

- Possible ban on STRs in residential zoned areas

- Increase license fees for STRs

- Ways to more easily remove or deny STR licenses

Council Member Tovo's STR Resolutions

- Initiate a phased-in process to limit Type 2 STRs to commercially zoned areas and require Conditional Use Permits for continued operation of Type 2 STRs in single family zoning.

- Limit Type 3 STRs in multifamily units in commercially zoned areas at no more than 3% by property and census.

- Make Type 2 STRs and non-owner occupied Type 3 STRs subject to federal ADA requirements as commercial places of lodging for the first time (this would essentially ban all of these STRs).

- For any STR application or license renewal, require both owner and property manager to certify that they have no outstanding code or APD violations within the last two years.

Here are links to more information on what Austin City Council will be discussing and a petition you can sign, urging council to stay with the existing 2012 regulations.

I urge anyone in Austin who is concerned about this issue to attend the city council meeting at 10:00am on October 15. Wear blue and show your support to keep short term rental rights in Austin!

@Chris Smith City Council did pass the moratorium on Type 2 STR licenses.

There are still a number of other issues that the Planning Commission is reviewing, including allowing STRs only in commercially-zoned areas, requiring conditional use permitting, and requiring code inspections. These issues likely will come back before council after the new year. 

It will be interesting to see how this shakes out, given the 6-year time horizon (although many of the smaller pieces of the ban go into effect within 10 days). HomeAway is planning to push back on the city, and AirBnB might as well. And current council members face re-election this November.