AUSTIN (KXAN) - The number of Austin homeowners who have registered for a new license to rent out their properties short-term for popular festivals like South by Southwest is at ‘a slow trickle, but constant.'
City code compliance Asst. Division Manager Matt Christianson told KXAN to date, 76 of an estimated 15-hundred owner-occupied properties have received short-term rental licenses.
Another 96 of 894 non owner-occupied properties are registered. For now, Christianson said the city is in the voluntary compliance phase of the new rules.
They require property owners to:
- pay a $235 registration fee
- pay a $50 fee to mail notices to neighbors within 100'.
- show a certificate of occupancy
- undergo a home inspection
And while the low registration numbers might indicate some homeowners are waiting to sign up for a permit, the city says it is working to process new licence applications within five to six business days if the paperwork is in order, Christianson said.
Here's the City of Austin's checklist for prospective short-term rental entrepreneurs.
In years' past, complaints from neighbors and the city missing out on tourist tax dollars caused Austin councilors to get the new permitting process on the books last October.
One south Austin homeowner just got a notice a day ago saying her rear neighbor will be renting out his property short term. She's anxious because she doesn't know who will turn up there.
"Directly right behind our house and not knowing who's coming in? We'll just have to wait and see how it goes," said Kate Catterall.
For those who chose to forgo the permitting process to rent out for the short term and get caught it's going to cost. The ordinance calls for a maximum fine of two-thousand dollars per violation per day as well as dealing with a Class C misdemeanor.
But Christianson told KXAN they are not enforcing the short term rental ordinance yet. That's because they do not yet have enough staff to go out and write the needed citations. Two full time inspectors have yet to be hired and trained.
However, the city does warn code compliance staff is making a list of owners offering up homes for rent through online posts and other spots around town. And they'll be comparing those listings with registered homeowners who advertise property for future events coming to town.
Taylor Perkins brokers short term rental properties and says the city's ordinance is part of doing business.
"As a property manager, is anything left unregulated? (That) can wreak havoc on the market. But we have seen the process being fairly pleasant," Perkins said.
He added that anything is going to take some investment in the front end if it's something that has the reward.
That reward can be handsome. For example, a three-bedroom house off South 1st St. is going for $1600 a night during SouthXSW. If it's rented every night, the owner could take in around 12,800 dollars, after those hotel and state taxes. Property managers say average rental rates for the festival are about 400 dollars a bedroom a night.
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