Austin City Council finalized a process to potentially change city laws that regulate short-term rentals, or STRs, during its Oct. 15 meeting.

City staff will now work on crafting language to phase out Type 2 STRs, such as those found through AirBnB and HomeAway, from residential areas and prohibit property owners with STR-related complaints or criminal history from operating an STR.

A tiered fee structure will also be created to cover the cost of regulating STRs, with the lowest fee applied to Type 1 rentals.

New short-term rental regulations receive support from City CouncilPrior to the Oct. 15 meeting, more than six hours of public testimony and council discussion occurred about proposed new short-term rental regulations.

STR advocates said new regulations are not needed, and the problems faced by neighborhoods could be resolved by Austin’s Code Department enforcing the rules on the books.

Austin Code Department Director Carl Smart said in an Oct. 5 council memo his department would work with the city on any changes to regulations.

“In the meantime, Austin Code will make every effort to increase the enforcement of STR regulations using existing tools,” Smart said in the memo.

The council agreed Sept. 22 to require STRs to comply with the following provisions:

  • No more than six unrelated people may occupy an STR.

  • No more than 10 people may occupy an STR regardless of relation.

  • No more than two adults are allowed per bedroom, with two additional guests allowed elsewhere. All STRs are assumed to have two bedrooms until an inspection is completed.

  • No more than six people can gather outside the property, and no gatherings are allowed after 10 p.m.

  • Allow Code Department officers to enforce noise regulations and write citations, when necessary.

  • Allow evidence from neighbors, such as photographs, videos or testimony, to be submitted as evidence during code violation administrative hearings.

  • Direct staff to find ways to collect hotel and motel taxes from STR properties.

  • Council also agreed Sept. 17 to ban mass gatherings at STRs. In addition, STR properties must pass an inspection and have a certificate of occupancy issued within a reasonable time as well as pass a septic system evaluation.

A public hearing to create a moratorium on all new Type 2 STR licenses will be held Nov. 12. Any resolution the council passes will have to go through the Planning Commission as well as the commission’s Code and Ordinances subcommittee. A final ordinance is slated to come back to City Council in January.