Are All These New Smaller Houses Gonna Be Airbnbs?

It’s on Council’s to-do List, as city awaits lawsuit ruling


Airbnb search results for an eight-person May weekend trip (screenshot via Airbnb)

With City Council making a raft of policy changes meant to enable more small-scale development in existing single-family neighborhoods, some may be wondering: What does all of this mean for short-term rentals (STRs), hosted through platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo?

It’s possible that some homeowners may choose to utilize the changes Council is considering to add a property to their land for STR use. But how the city will regulate those rentals is still very much in the air. Last summer, Senior U.S. District Judge David Alan Ezra ruled the city’s STR regulations unconstitutional. Adopted in 2016, the rules limited the number of unrelated adults that could stay in a homeowner’s “Type 2” residence (i.e., their rental house) and prohibited “non-sleeping” activities in an attempt to clamp down on raucous parties that were then – and remain – a nuisance for people living near some STRs.

“I expect us to focus more on the enforcement side than the permissive side of the issue.”  – Council Member Ryan Alter

Two months after Ezra voided Austin’s STR regulations, Dallas property owners sued the city over an ordinance adopted by the Dallas City Council that effectively outlawed STRs within the city limits. A trial is set in that suit for June 3.

Meanwhile, Austin’s plans to take another crack at regulating STRs are on hold – the city’s Law Department wants to see what happens in the Dallas suit before proposing any new rules for Austin Council members to consider. “I expect us to focus more on the enforcement side than the permissive side of the issue,” CM Ryan Alter told the Chronicle. The city likely won’t be able to impose many limits on where STRs can be located, but they may be able to crack down on their more disruptive uses.  .

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

short-term rentals, land development code, HOME Amendments, zoning

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