City Now Tackling Home-Sharing Regulation

With its regulation of Transportation Network Companies being seen as a potential model for the rest of the state, the City of San Antonio is now moving to regulate home sharing firms like Airbnb, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

"After two initial meetings, we clearly hear the need for a thorough and thoughtful process when codifying home-sharing in San Antonio," Councilman Mike Gallagher said.

Technically, it is currently illegal under San Antonio zoning laws, to rent out your home to strangers for cash.  That is referred to as 'accessory use,' which is prohibited under the City Code."

We want to be able to allow this industry to continue practicing here in San Antnoio, but we are focused on an ordinance that protects all parties involved," Gallagher said.  "Our effort with this review and initiative is to bring the code up to debate, better serving our neighborhoods and this growing industry in San Antoio, and we encourage local input."

While previously limited to so called 'vacation rental' properties, home sharing has taken off, and with San Antonio a key visitor destination, the companies already have a strong customer base in the city.

Among the issues that will be discussed include what level of regulation should protect both homeowners and renters, how to handle complaints by neighbors who don't like the idea of the house next door being rented out by a different family every week, and the key issue, is how to collect Hotel Occupancy Taxes from Airbnb customers.

The HOT tax is a key funder of Visit San Antonio, as well as major tourism facilities.  The improvements being made to the Alamodome in preparation for next spring's NCAA Final Four, as well as the $300 million in upgrades to the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, were funded largely by the HOT tax.

"Much like our successful effort to create a fair TNC policy, the issue of home sharing deserves a thorough and deliberate discusion," Mayor Ivy Taylor said.  "I am pleased to see Councilman Gallagher taking the initiative and look forward to a robust dialogue.:

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