AUSTIN (KXAN) - It is a done deal.
There are now strings attached to renting out homes and duplexes for a few days at a time in Austin. City council members approved the ordinance Thursday that regulates short-term rentals, but city staff still have a lot of details to figure out.
"We have to create a fee, we have to create a process for people to register," said Jerry Rusthoven, the manager of Austin's Planning and Development Review Department.
The city does not know which department will handle the registration process.
The city council wants staff to spend the first three months registering property owners already operating short-term rentals and then open it up for others.
Rules also need to be written which the code compliance department will enforce. Those who have fought the ordinance from the start are skeptical that inspectors will be able to keep up with the extra work.
"Regulations will only be as good as the city's commitment to enforce them," said Tom Nuckols, former assistant city attorney and member of the Barton Hills Neighborhood Association.
After a balcony collapse at an East Austin apartment complex four months ago, the code department made it clear they needed more manpower to keep up with the daily demand.
When asked if the workload will be too much, Rusthoven said, "It's hard to say at this point. I know that the city manager's budget came out earlier this week. There's a proposal for adding 19 more inspectors in the code compliance department."
The city will have to figure out if it needs to add other employees to handle the rest of the process. The new registration fee short-term rental owners will soon have to pay will help cover the cost of those positions. The city is still trying to come up with what the fee will be.
Critics predict all of the unknowns are a recipe for disaster.
"The city definitely should have taken more time to do this," said Nuckols.
The city says just give them a couple of months to get the systems in place.
The new rules will not apply to apartments or condos.
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