Update: March 14

The ordinance regarding short-term rentals was approved by City Council at the March 9 meeting.

City Council approved the first reading of an update to ordinances governing short-term rentals, or STRs, and permits for them at a Feb. 24 meeting.

The proposed regulations would be more consistent with those of other cities across Texas, according to Christopher Looney, New Braunfels Planning and Development Services director.

Looney said the city’s first regulations regarding STRs—rentals for periods shorter than a month—were adopted in 2006 and updated in 2011 to improve “neighborhood tranquility and public safety.”

STRs are often associated with Airbnb, but there are numerous services that fall under these guidelines.

Permits were only required for single-family homes and duplexes under existing ordinances. Apartments and other dwellings do not require permits to operate as STRs.

That will change if the amendments to City Code are ratified by City Council at their meeting March 9.

Occupancy terminology will also be revised to define a “sleeping area” as a room to eliminate a loophole that allowed STR proprietors to increase rental capacity by labeling each bed in a room as a separate “sleeping area.”

The number of bathrooms required in relation to maximum occupancy will be increased as well, and proprietors will be required to have defined insurance coverage for newly issued or renewed permits.

City code requires annual fire inspection for STRs, but the new code stipulates that homes with sprinkler fire-suppression systems will only need inspections every other year.

The new ordinance text will also enhance 24-hour contact requirements for STR operators, Looney said at the meeting.