Austin City Council approves additional regulations for short-term rentals

HomeAway CEO Brian Sharples leads a march to Austin City Hall on Feb. 23 in support of short-term rentals.

HomeAway CEO Brian Sharples leads a march to Austin City Hall on Feb. 23 in support of short-term rentals.

Property owners listing their homes and apartments on online services such as Airbnb and HomeAway will face more restrictions in the city of Austin.

On Feb. 23, Austin City Council voted 9-2 to implement additional regulations for short-term rentals, which are properties rented for 30 consecutive days or fewer.

The approved ordinance adds restrictions for Type 1 STRs, which are owner-occupied, single-family dwellings, Type 2 STRs, which are not occupied by the owner, and Type 3 STRs, which are multi-family dwellings.

New regulations include:

  • Phasing out all Type 2 STRs from residential areas by 2022

  • Limiting the number of people who can occupy an STR to two adults per bedroom plus two additional adults

  • Prohibiting outdoor assemblies between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. and limiting outdoor assemblies to six adults

Council voted down several proposed amendments to the STR ordinance, including two proposals that would have banned new STR Type 2 properties but allowed current Type 2 properties to continue operating indefinitely as long as they followed city code.

Council voted in favor of an amendment to do away with the public hearing on the new STR regulations set for 2017, meaning a moratorium on Type 2 STRs will stand indefinitely.

The long-awaited vote on the new STR regulations was postponed in December and postponed again Jan. 28 after council heard multiple hours of public comment lasting into the early morning hours.

More than 100 STR advocates, organized by Austin-based HomeAway, marched to City Hall on Tuesday to show support for short-term rentals although public comment on the issue had closed.

District 7 Council Member Leslie Pool noted that although Type 2 STRs will be phased out in Austin, there will still be many STRs operating in the city.

“STRs are going to continue in Austin no matter what we do,” Pool said before the vote. “We’re expressing a preference for having the owners live on the properties for a lot of reasons.”

Council members who voted in favor of the new regulations expressed concerns with Type 2 STRs, including potential negative impacts on the city's housing stock, housing affordability and neighborhood stability.
By Emilie Shaughnessy
Emilie covers community news in Central Austin and is the beat reporter for Austin City Council. She started with Community Impact Newspaper in 2015 after working as a journalist in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.


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