City Poised to Approve Regulations on 'Home Sharing'

Fresh off a Final Four where many fans snubbed the hotels and instead rented someone's home, the city this week will debate an ordinance governing the growing trend of "roomsharing," Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.

The proposal targets homeowners who list on sites like AirBNB, sort of like how the city welcomed Uber drivers with some restrictions.

City Manager Sheryl Sculley says there are a lot of factors. "We're trying the balance what the neighborhoods wants with those who own the property," she says.

The goal, she says is to preserve the beauty and character of neighborhoods with property rights. "That's an important part. In Texas, private property rights are important.

"The City Council will not be taking a vote this week. It's one step in the process. The proposed ordinance previously went before the City Planning commission.

Previously, board member Casey Whittington said it was important to get out in front of the trend, sort of how the city was progressive in their views of ridesharing firms like Uber and Lyft.

"We need to remember that, when someone is coming to our city, these short term rentals are acting as an ambassador to our visitors," he said at the time.

Under the proposed ordinance, the city will set up a database of renters, and identify out-of-city owners. Homeowners who want to rent would then need a permit.

"Making sure the grass stays cut, parking is adhered to, and a lot of the ordinances goes into making sure the home is up to code," Whittington explains.

The proposal is heavy on making sure homes being rented to visitors are safe. Floorplans are needed, in case of a fire. There also needs to be a General Liability Insurance policy with minimum limits of 500k.

But one sticking point could be a requirement that home-sharing owners will have to pay their share of city taxes. That would create a level playing field with traditional hotels, who must also pay that tax.

If approved by the full city council, it would continue San Antonio down the path of working with emerging technology instead of fighting against it.

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