San Antonio Passes Regulation for Home Rentals Like Airbnb

Associated Press

Monday November 5, 2018

San Antonio has approved new rules to regulate local properties that are rented for short-term stays through companies such as Airbnb.

The San Antonio City Council on Thursday passed a package of regulations, including requirements for rental home owners to register with the city and pay penalties for skimping on taxes. The new ordinance also limits the density of short-term rentals where owners don't live, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

Councilman Mike Gallagher asked the city to consider regulating the budding short-term home rental industry last year after receiving complaints over so-called party houses, crowded streets and safety concerns.

The new regulations take effect immediately, but property owners have 90 days to register with the city. Owners will be required to pay a $100 initial fee and a $100 renewal fee every three years.

City officials estimate that San Antonio will receive $320,000 in fee-related revenue within four years.

The ordinance also limits the density of rental properties where the owners don't live. But property owners wanting to rent in an area that's already hit density limits can request an exception from the city Board of Adjustments.

Representatives for Airbnb and Austin-based HomeAway support the rules after working with city staff on the ordinance proposal.

"HomeAway commends the short-term rental task force and city staff for the many months of open dialogue and collaboration that went into this proposal," said HomeAway spokesman Philip Minardi. "The outcome of that process is a regulatory framework that ensures vacation rental owners can operate responsibly and with accountability."

State lawmakers could pre-empt or nullify San Antonio's regulations. But Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Assistant City Manager Carlos Contreras said some legislators have expressed interest in using the city's ordinance as a possible blueprint for state-wide regulations.

Airbnb's Texas Policy Director Laura Spanjian called the San Antonio ordinance "a type of law that we support and that any state law should embrace."

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