San Marcos City Council approves home share regulations on first reading

San Marcos City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance regulating home sharing on Tuesday night.

San Marcos City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance regulating home sharing on Tuesday night.

The city of San Marcos is one step closer to having rules in place to regulate home sharing through web-based services, such as AirBnB and HomeAway.

On Tuesday night, San Marcos City Council unanimously approved the first reading of a set of regulations formulated by a subcommittee consisting of Mayor John Thomaides and council members Lisa Prewitt and Melissa Derrick. A second reading of the ordinance will take place in August.

“The fact of the matter is, until we pass this, [operating a home share] is running an illegal business in a neighborhood,” Council Member Derrick said. “We’ve got to regulate it. We’re one of the towns in the area that has chosen to allow it rather than than disallow it. We’re letting that local economy churn and burn. We have to have these kinds of restrictions or we’re headed for a lot of trouble with our affordable housing and disruption of neighbors and all different sorts of things.”

Under the city’s proposed regulations, property owners would be allowed one home-share property, which must be primarily used a residence.

The limitation on the number of home shares a property owner can own and operate is aimed at preventing affordability and housing stock issues that could be caused by investors purchasing multiple single-family homes and using them as income-generating properties, Planning Manager Abigail Gillfillan said at a planning and zoning commission meeting in June.

Among the requirements for the city’s home-share properties included in the new ordinance:

  • Properties must pay hotel occupancy taxes;

  • Properties must publish the city registration number on any advertisements;

  • Property owners may not have more than one home share;

  • There is a maximum of two adult guests per bedroom as well as two additional guests per house;

  • Property owners must provide guests with a brochure, including emergency information and relevant neighborhood information, and

  • The property owner must also provide contact information for a local responsible party when the permanent resident is out of town.