New Short-Term Rental Ordinance Takes Effect Today
By Kelli Ainsworth and Wells Dunbar
Starting today, Austin residents and property owners who rent out their homes to vacationers will be subject to new licensing requirements.
The Austin City Council adopted an ordinance in August requiring anyone who operates a short-term rental. As defined by the council, the rentals are “houses and residential units rented for periods of 30 days.” The ordinance goes into effect today.
Rental operators will face different applications and licensing requirements depending on whether they occupy the property themselves (a “Type 1″ rental) or use it solely as a rental property (“Type 2″). Type 1 operators and/or Type 2 operators in business before June 13, 2011, can begin applying for licenses today. Type 2 operators opening shop after June 13 will be able to apply in January.
In addition to obtaining a license, rental operators will also have to pass an inspection, stay up-to-date on hotel occupancy taxes and pay a fee for notifications to adjacent property owners in order to operate legally.
Austin has more than 600 rental properties listed on the popular vacation rental site, HomeAway. They range from small studios listed for $55 a night to sprawling Westlake Hills estates with a $10,000-a-night price tag.