City to Try Again to Come Up With Short Term Rental Regulations

The San Antonio Planning Commission today will take a crack at putting together regulations that would cover the new 'Airbnb,' or short term rental industry without running afoul of the courts, and without placing unneeded limitations on this fledging business model, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

One of the changes from the original restrictions will prohibit short term rental operators from providing food and beverage services, or renting their homes for 'events' like weddings.  People told City Council that they have fears that a home on their block will become a regular 'party house' with large events held there weekly.

The City also wants to limit the number of homes that can be made available in a single block for short term rentals, with the new proposal being 12.5% of the homes on a side of a city block, or no more than one every eight homes, without a special exception.

The City wants to make sure that popular neighborhoods where Airbnb properties are likely to be located, like King William and Monte Vista, don't turn into commercial strips, destroying the character of the area.

The City is also dropping a requirement that all STR properties first undergo an initial city inspection, changing that to require an inspection only when a renter complaints, or when there are indications of a problem.

The City has dropped parking and noise limits from the STR ordinance, because there are already city statutes on the books that limit the number of cars that can be parked on a block.

The City will have to make sure that any regulations are within the parameters of a May Texas Supreme Court ruling which held that as long as a home is being used for 'residential purposes' and is not, for example, being turned into a commercial business, it is not the business of, in this case, a homeowners association, to regulate whether the resident is the owner or someone the owner is renting to.

Any restrictions will also attempt to maintain the strength of the STR market.  

Many people, including many retirees, have told City Council that with 35 million visitors a year flocking to San Antonio, they have been able to make significant additions to their income by renting out their homes to visitors.

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