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short term rental regulations Austin

The City Council of Austin passed short term rental regulations in August 2012 requiring a license to operate an STR. In September 2103, they revised the ordinance, and then again in February 2016. The following is a complete guideline for Austin’s short term rental regulations so that anyone can be a responsible host when using platforms like Airbnb, VRBO, and other similar services. This rundown should give you a good start in understanding your local laws. 

In the City of Austin, a short term rental, sometimes known as a vacation rental, is the temporary renting of a residential dwelling unit or accessory building for less than 30 days. Owners of short term rentals must get an annual Operating License as stated in Ordinance No. 20160223-A.I. This regulation applies to all properties, including rooms and guest houses.


Types of Short Term Rentals

  • Owner-Occupied: single-family, multi-family, or duplex. These types of properties are owner-occupied or connected to an owner-occupied primary residence. They include the rental of an entire dwelling unit. If only a portion of the apartment is rented, it is limited to a single party of individuals. Also, it must have a sleeping room (with a shared full bathroom). The owner is usually present during the rental.
  • Non-Owner-Occupied: Single-family or duplex. These types of properties aren’t owner-occupied or connected to an owner-occupied primary house. They are single-family or duplex properties. Moreover, they include the rental of an entire dwelling unit.
  • Non-Owner-Occupied: Multifamily. The owner does not occupy these types of properties. They are a part of a property with multifamily use such as apartments, condos, etc. They include the rental of an entire dwelling unit.

STR Operating License Application

The following are the current requirements for obtaining a short term rental Operating License in Austin:

  • Application: The short term rental license application for all types of properties is on the City of Austin’s official website
  • Fee: The total cost is $567, including a $50 notification fee payable to the City of Austin. It is not possible to get a refund for the application fee. 
  • Proof of Property Insurance: Information, declarations, or summary pages from License holders’ Policy.
  • Proof of Payment of Hotel Occupancy Taxes in the City of Austin: Only required if it is applicable. If a host uses their property as a short term rental, then proof of hotel occupancy taxes is required. 
  • Certificate of occupancy: License holders can get their Certificate of Occupancy from the Development Services Department by calling 3-1-1.
  • Driver’s License 
  • All 3rd Party Agents must have notarized permission from property owners to administer the property. 

            Before the license expires, license holders must renew it. If the STR’s owner or street address has changed, short term rental operators must submit a new application with signatures from all owners and, if applicable, the owner’s agent. However, if any other application information has changed, the owner must send the updated information in a letter signed by them rather than submitting a new application. 

            Occupancy Limits

            A short term rental may not be occupied by more than:

            • Ten adults at a time, unless there is a stricter limit.
            • A group of six adults who are not related. 

            Vacation Rentals and Noise

            • The use of sound-producing equipment that exceeds 75 decibels at the property line between 10:00 am, and 10:00 pm may not be used or allowed by a licensee or guest of a short term rental. 
            • Between 10:00 pm and 10:00 am, a licensee or guest of a short term rental may not use or authorize the use of sound equipment that produces sound audible beyond the property line. 
            • Between 10:30 pm and 7:00 am, a licensee or guest of a short term rental may not make or enable another to produce noise or play a musical instrument audible to a neighboring business or dwelling.  

            Other Short Term Rental Regulations

            As a responsible host, you must comprehend and abide by other contracts or vacation rental rules and regulations that bind you. These include leases, community rules, HOA rules, or other guidelines set up by tenant associations. Feel free to reach out to your landlord, housing authority, or community council to find out more. To get more information about other regulations, you can also visit Austin’s official website or contact us.

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