City Moving Forward Cautiously on Short-Term Rental Regulations

The City is attempting to come up with regulations covering short term home rentals like AirBNB and HomeAway that support the growth of the industry, and still come into conformity with a recent Texas Supreme Court decision, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

City Development Director Michael Shannon says one thing the city can regulate is the ability of developers to come into a desirable neighborhood like King William or Monte Vista, buy up several houses, and turn them into mini hotels, in violation of city zoning codes.

"How many of these are too many in a particular neighborhood and where should they be located?" he asked.

Proposals include limiting 'commercial class' home rentals to homes near intersections with major roads, so guests don't wind through the neighborhood to get in and out of their AirBnB.

Another proposal is to restrict uses of short term rentals to overnight stays.

"You can't just rent this out every weekend to be an 'event house' or a 'party house'," he said.  "That tends to cause the nuisances."

Mayor Nirenberg said it is important to come up with regulations that allow the new short term rental industry to grow, but it is important to remember that, unlike the Uber regulations for ride sharing, that the City wrestled with three years ago, these regulations will affect people's neighborhoods and lives.

A Texas Supreme Court ruling earlier this year, in the case of a San Antonio neighborhood restriction, clearly limited the amount of regulations that can prohibit a homeowner from renting out his or her home to people for residential purposes. But it held open regulation of homes for non residential purposes, and also regulations to limit rentals by non residents of a home.

The Court also upheld the main purpose of the City's regulation, ruling that short term home rentals are in fact hotels, and hotel motel taxes must be paid.

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