Short Term Rentals

What are short-term rentals (STRs)?

A short-term rental (also called a vacation rental or STR) is the rental of a residential dwelling unit or accessory building for periods of less than 30 consecutive days. Also see http://www.austintexas.gov/str

A Type 1 STR is an owner-occupied residence or an accessory dwelling that is associated with an owner-occupied principal residence.  For example, an owner living in their residence most of the time but renting it out for a few days or weeks (up to 30 days) at a time, is operating a Type 1 STR.  An owner who rents out a garage apartment or back cottage on the same property as their home for short periods, is also operating a Type 1 STR.  To be considered owner-occupied, a home must be a designated homestead and must be occupied by the owner at least 51% of the time.

A Type 2 STR is not owner-occupied and is not associated with an owner-occupied principal residential unit.  An owner not occupying their property but renting out either the house or a secondary apartment, on the same property, for short periods of time, is operating a Type 2 STR.

A Type 3 STR is an STR that is part of a multi-family residence.


Why do we have STRs in our neighborhood?

 In August 2012, the Austin City Council passed an ordinance providing for the regulation, monitoring, and licensing of short-term rentals.  Previously, short-term rental of non-owner-occupied houses in areas zoned for single-family residential use was illegal, but there was little consistent enforcement of rentals.  The Bryker Woods Neighborhood Association, along with other neighborhood groups, opposed including Type 2 STRs in this ordinance, arguing that it circumvented the zoning process by permitting a new commercial use in single-family residential neighborhoods.  The ordinance was passed despite these objections.  Amendments to the short-term rental ordinance (Ordinance 20130926-144) were passed by City council in September 2013. With the law currently in place, all short-term rental properties must be registered with the City, and STR owners must follow certain regulations, including paying licensing fees, obtaining a certificate of occupancy, and paying hotel occupancy taxes.

 

What regulations and limitations apply to STRs?

To operate an STR, either Type 1 or Type 2, one is required to obtain a short-term rental operating license, which must be renewed annually.  Details of this process and associated requirements are summarized on the City of Austin website at http://www.austintexas.gov/department/short-term-rental-registration-program.

The actual regulations pertaining to STRs are codified as part of the City’s Land Development Code, Chapter 25-2, Subchapter C, sections 25-2-788 through 25-2-793.  The Land Development Code can be found at http://www.amlegal.com/nxt/gateway.dll/Texas/austin/title25landdevelopment?f=templates$fn=default.htm$3.0$vid=amlegal:austin_tx$anc=JD_Title25

The number of Type 2 (non-owner-occupied) STRs is limited to no more than 3% of the single family residential units in any given census tract.  In Census Tract 16.03, which includes Bryker Woods, Pemberton Heights, and Tarrytown (an area roughly bounded by 35th St. and Westover Road to the north, Windsor Road to the south, Shoal Creek and Lamar Boulevard to the east, and MoPac and Exposition Boulevard to the west), a maximum of 49 Type 2 STRs are allowed as of 2013.  As of October 2013, 5 Type 2 STR operating licenses had been issued in this census tract. Currently, the City does not limit the number of Type 1 (owner-occupied) STRs that may be registered in an area.

 

I received a City of Austin “Notice of Registration of a Short Term Rental” in the mail.  Why was I sent this notice, and what does it mean?

 The City Ordinance governing short-term rentals requires that all property owners within 100 feet of a short-term rental be notified when a new STR registration with the City has been completed.  When you receive this notice, it tells you that a neighbor has recently obtained a short-term rental operating license.

The notice may not specify whether the owner has registered to operate a Type 1 (owner-occupied) or Type 2 (non-owner-occupied) STR.  If you want to determine which type of license was issued, you can search for it on the City’s Interactive Development Review Permitting and Inspection website at http://www.austintexas.gov/page/interactive-development-review-permitting-and-inspection. Click “Information Search,” then on the page that appears, fill in the property address under “Search by property/project name/types/date range.”  Use the drop-down menu next to “Permit/Case Type” to select “Operating License.”  The default date range for the search is set at one year prior to the present date; you may wish to change it to search for a longer time period.  Click “Submit” to search for the information.

The mailed notice includes the name and phone number of the property owner, so you may choose to contact the owners directly to ask how frequently they expect to rent the property and what rules or limitations they have set for potential renters.
How can I check whether a home near mine is registered for short-term rentals?

Follow the instructions above to search for the property on the City’s Interactive Development Review Permitting and Inspection website. If you believe that a property is being operated as a short-term rental without a license, you can report it to the City by calling 3-1-1.


How can I report a nuisance, noise, or trash problem at a neighboring STR?

If you have a complaint about the conduct of renters at a nearby STR, the most productive first step may be to contact the owner.  It is in the owner’s best interest to ensure that renters do not cause a disruption or upset the nearby neighbors.   If problems persist, you can report them to the City by calling 3-1-1.

 

 How can I legally rent out my home for a few days?

To rent out your home on a short-term basis, you must obtain a short-term rental operating license, follow the STR regulations, and pay hotel occupancy taxes on the rental.  To learn how to get a license, start by visiting the short-term rental licensing page of the City of Austin website at http://www.austintexas.gov/department/short-term-rental-registration-program.
Where can I find additional information about STRs?

 A good place to start is the short-term rental licensing page of the City of Austin website at http://www.austintexas.gov/department/short-term-rental-registration-program.  You can also contact the City’s Code Compliance/Short Term Rental Program department by e-mail at STRLicensing@austintexas.gov, by phone by dialing 3-1-1, or in person at 1520 Rutherford Lane, Austin, TX 78754 (open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday).

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