Short Term Rentals

Short Term Rentals
4:08 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Airbnb To Start Charging Hotel Taxes In A Handful Of Cities

Airbnb, the online home-rental service, says it will start collecting hotel taxes in a few American cities.
Chris Weeks Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 6:13 pm

When Regitze Visby, a tourist visiting San Francisco from Denmark, searched for accommodations for her trip and saw she could stay at one of the famed "painted ladies" on Alamo Square through Airbnb, she took it.

At $135 a night, "it was a good deal," she says.

But does she know if she's paying a transient occupancy tax or a hotel tax? "I have no idea," she says.

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City Council
5:06 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

Council OKs Changes to Short-Term Rental Rules; Lowers Notification Fee to $50

The Austin City Council voted 5-2 to slash the notification fee associated with short-term rental registration.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

City Council waded back into the choppy waters of short-term rental regulation earlier today – and emerged largely unscathed.

By a vote of five to two, council decided to lower the fee for notifying neighbors about a rental property, and directed the city manager to re-evaluate other issues surrounding the rentals.

Owners who want to register their rentals with the city need to pay $476 for licensing and the notification fees. But over half of that – $241 – was just for the city to notify owners of properties within 100 feet about the existence of a rental. Today, council voted to lower that fee to $50.

Many short-term rentals are already rented for the opening weekend of Formula 1 in November – but only a handful are registered with the city.

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City Council
10:02 am
Thu October 18, 2012

City Council Preview: Short-Term Rentals, F1 Briefing and Naming a Waller Creek Winner

It's a full list for members of the Austin City Council today.
Callie Hernandez, KUT News

The Austin City Council convenes this morning. It's tackling a 104-item agenda. Here’s a rundown of the hot topics:

The Return of Short-Term Rentals: After wreaking havoc and sowing division on the council dais mere months ago, short-term rental regulations returns to council today. As KUT News reported earlier this week, council is looking at whether more people would comply with recently-passed regulations if it were easier and less expensive to do so.

Council is looking at two rental-related items – one asking the city manager to look at revamping several areas, and another lowering the cost of neighborly rental notification to a flat $50 – but some council members have concerns. "Responding to the growing pains of getting these registered immediately is just really problematic to me," council member Laura Morrison said earlier this week. "Until we get some feel for how things are working under our belts, otherwise, I can assure you there will be another set that we need to be working on soon."

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City Council
2:07 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Council Considers Changes to Short-Term Rental Rules, Fees (Updated)

This is no game: Rules governing the registration of short-term rental properties return to the City Council this week.
flickr.com/wwworks

Updated: Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2:07 p.m.:

The Austin City Council is already considering changes to the rules and fees surrounding the short term rental ordinance that went into effect Oct. 1. As of Friday, the city had issued just 19 licenses. Council wants to know if more people would comply if it were easier and less expensive.

But council member Laura Morrison said in a work session Tuesday morning that it may be too early to make changes at all.

"Responding to the growing pains of getting these registered immediately is just really problematic to me," Morrison says. "Until we get some feel for how things are working under our belts, otherwise, I can assure you there will be another set that we need to be working on soon."

Right now, those applying for a license have to do so in person. They also have to pay a $241 notification fee to send letters to neighbors within 100 feet of the property. The city’s Planning and Development Review Department is recommending that the fee be reduced to $50. That’s because the $241 flat fee is the standard for other city notifications—which require notifying within 500 feet.

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Austin
2:41 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

A Short-Term Rental License is $235 - But the True Cost is Twice That

Austinites hoping to make money by renting out their homes during this weekend's ACL festival will first have to shell out more than $400 to register with the city.
flickr.com/interpunct

Austin property owners have started applying for short-term rental licenses to comply with a new city ordinance that took effect last week.

To obtain a license, property owners have to pay a $235 short-term rental licensing fee. But they are also required to pay a $241 notification fee– money that will be used  by the city to notify neighbors within 100 feet of a short-term rental property. 

This fee has generated controversy because all applicants pay the same amount, whether they have to notify 10 neighbors or 100.

"The fee is the standard notification fee that the city has," says Jerry Rusthoven with the city's Planning and Development Office. "My department, the planning department mails out notices to folks for a variety of different types of cases – zoning cases, subdivision site plans – and we have a standard $241 notification fee that’s paid for all those," 

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Austin
8:33 am
Mon October 1, 2012

New Short-Term Rental Ordinance Takes Effect Today

Short-term rentals, as listed by companies like HomeWay, are subject to new regulation beginning today.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

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.

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City Council
10:39 am
Fri August 3, 2012

Council Passes Short Term Rental Regulations, Punts on Concert Approvals

Protesters calling for a ban on types of short term rentals rallies outside City Hall yesterday.
Wells Dunbar, KUT News

Austin City Council members voted 5-2 last night to pass a plan that regulates short term rental properties.

The plan puts no limit on the number of short term rentals that are owner-occupied. But council members put a cap on the percentage of homes per census tract that can be used primarily as short term rentals. All short term rental homeowners will have to register with the city and pay hotel tax.

Council members Laura Morrison and Kathie Tovo, who had been pushing for an outright ban on rentals that aren’t the renters' primary residence, voted against the regulations.

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Austin
4:06 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Welcome to Texas: Meet KUT's Newest International Reporter

Welcome German journalist Bettina Meier to KUT.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Bettina Meier will spend the next two months in Austin as part of the Arthur Burns Fellowship. The program sends American reporters to Germany and German reporters to the United States.

This is KUT's second Burns Fellow to visit. The previous German visitor, Nichole Markwald, told Meier she should go to Austin and work at KUT. While trying to find a place to live, she stumbled across a connection between Austin and her home in Berlin.

My biggest problem before coming here was finding a place to live. So I stumbled over the issue of short-term rentals in Austin. I found that renting a place for longer than 30 days is more accepted, so I ended up renting a garage apartment from an Austin-native outside the downtown area.

Short-term rentals in Berlin have been an ongoing problem, particularly in my district -- close to the Brandenburg Gate -- where hotel prices rise during the summer. The problem became pronounced when tourists started renting out apartments in central residential areas, especially in the former eastern part of Berlin, where people live in large concrete apartment buildings.

Your neighbors are just a doorstep away and you can hear everything going on around you. Once, the police pulled 32 people out of a two-bedroom apartment where a party was going on. This is not uncommon and parties in Berlin usually start around midnight and can last until the early morning, even during the workweek.

How to solve a problem like that in a city whose popularity is growing and is trying to remain friendly to tourists? While Austin's City Council is struggling to find a solution, it might consider looking to Berlin for answers.

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City Council
8:54 am
Thu August 2, 2012

City Council Preview: The Concerts Are Coming!

City Council returns to a full agenda this Thursday.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The Austin City Council faces a long agenda today, convening for its first full meeting in over a month.

The issue of regulating short term rentals (STRs) has reached a fever pitch over the break, ever since the council’s initial June vote to add new regulations.

While some council members have signaled their intent to finalize that initial suite of regulations – which would require property owners to obtain a license, and limit the number of STRs by zip code – opponents have called for a ban on “commercial” STRs, or properties that exist solely to be rented out. And the city didn’t help the issue by publishing a memo that inadvertently stated the council had acted in legal error on their first vote.

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Austin
4:49 pm
Tue July 31, 2012

Short Term Rentals Making for a Long Council Meeting

The memo in question: The city stated a previous short term rental vote occurred in error, but later found that wasn't the case.
City of Austin

The Austin City Council is expected to take action on new regulations for short term rental properties this Thursday.

The decision comes after some confusion about whether the council would postpone action until August 23. As KUT News previously reported, the city inadvertently muddied the waters last week by posting a memo stating the council’s initial vote on the matter would be disregarded as notice of the meeting was not publicly posted. But later that day, city staff realized the action was publicly posted, and its previous statement was in error.

Council Member Kathie Tovo expressed concern over whether the public knows that council will be moving forward on short term rentals this Thursday. But Council Member Mike Martinez doesn’t think it’s an issue.

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City Council
2:01 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

City Council Back With a Three-Peat This Week

The city council faces a full schedule on its first week back.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

After nearly a month off the Austin City Council is getting down to business, with three major meetings this week.

The fun starts Tuesday, as the council convenes for a work session. Instituted last year in the wake of alleged open meetings act violations, normally Tuesday work sessions are a chance for members to vet topics they’ll consider at their regular Thursday meetings. But this Tuesday’s meeting includes potential action on two long-simmering issues:

Discussion of November 2012 election matters and potential direction to staff.

This item could include matters related to the anticipated November bond election. 

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City Council
9:06 am
Fri June 29, 2012

City Council Wrap-Up, F1 Trip to England for City Officials

The copper ceiling inside City Hall.
Paulo Martins for KUT News

The Austin City Council wrapped up its Thursday meeting at 3:45 a.m. Friday morning.

Council members rejected a proposal to build a $5 million temporary customs and immigration processing facility at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

They postponed until August a discussion on ordinance changes for short-term housing rentals.

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City Council
9:01 am
Fri June 8, 2012

Council Passes Austin Energy Rate Hike, Short-Term Rental Changes

The energy rate hike will be based on how much a customer uses; How the city will regulate short-term rentals is still under discussion.
flickr.com/interpunct

Austin City Council members approved a rate increase for Austin Energy customers last night.

The council heard public comment before voting unanimously in favor of the increases.

It’s been a months-long process in coming to an agreement, but council member Mike Martinez says it was necessary to find the right plan.

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City Council
9:57 am
Thu June 7, 2012

City Council Preview: Flipping the Switch on Austin Energy Rates, Short-Term Rental Regulations

Two high profile public hearings command City Council's attention today.
Paulo Martins for KUT News

Two contentious public hearings should bring dozens of speakers to Austin City Hall today – and stretch out what might otherwise be an unremarkable meeting into an all-night affair.

First, the council is scheduled to hear comments on an ordinance about short term rentals. Austin’s Planning Commission recently proposed a suite of new regulations for owners of short-term rental homes, with one set of rules for Austinites sporadically renting out their homes for events like South by Southwest, and stricter guidelines for homes that are not owner-occupied and are rented out more often.

Secondly, the council is also holding a public hearing on proposed electric rate increases for Austin Energy customers.

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Short-Term Rentals
3:39 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

Planning Commission Proposes New Regulations for Short-Term Rentals

Short-term rentals, aggregated by companies like HomeAway, may soon see tighter regulation.
Photo by Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

At a marathon meeting that stretched early into Wednesday morning, Austin’s Planning Commission recommended new regulations for short-term rentals – properties that homeowners offer for rent on sites like HomeAway and VRBO.com.

Short-term rentals are increasingly popular over events like South by Southwest and the Austin City Limits Music Festival, with Austin visitors choosing to rent area homes instead of staying in hotels. But the growth in short-term rentals hasn’t been applauded by all.

Those pushing to regulate short-term rentals argue they can be detrimental to neighborhoods, and have considered regulating them as commercial rather than residential properties. Homeowners that rent out their homes and companies that depend on their business – like Austin-based HomeAway – argue too much regulation will drive the market underground, giving aggrieved neighbors even less options for dealing with bad actors.

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