LEANDER, Texas (KXAN) — Regulations could be coming soon for short-term rental (STR) operators in Leander. This comes as the City of Leander considers updating ordinances, so that STR properties are subject to permitting and a local Hotel Occupancy Tax.
In a May workshop, city leaders heard regulation recommendations from staff. The staff member presenting the recommendations said the city was approached by a third-party company that tracks STR data.
The data showed that the area had several dozen properties that could be HOT taxed, the profits of which could then be used for city improvements.
The presenting staffer also said these regulations would make properties more likely to follow other ordinances that impact neighborhoods where an STR is located.
“We want to minimize nuisances, educate people coming to our city, support tourism, collect the tax and then advocate for the citizens interest,” the staff member said.
Currently, STR properties are required to pay a state HOT tax of 6%, according to the Texas Comptroller’s office. It is up to a local government if they want to charge an additional localized HOT tax.
Vivian Yip is the CEO and founder of Corporate Rentals Austin by Hestia– a short-term rental company that specializes in hosting people displaced from their homes.
Yip owns an STR property in Leander and said she’s not surprised to hear the city is taking a closer look at implementing a HOT tax. However the city decides to proceed, Yip said it will likely affect her business.
“I believe that it’s just gonna take a little bit off the bottom line. But you know at the end of the day, we have the option of charging that back to the client,” Yip said.
Yip said she is not against a HOT tax and understands why the city wants to capitalize on the STR boom happening in the surrounding Austin area.
“I think it should be considered fair. I mean, at the end of the day, we need to give back to the economy that’s feeding us,” Yip said.
The city has taken no action on these recommendations at this time.