Texas Supreme Court rules in favor of short-term renters


The Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday in favor of homeowners who want to rent out their properties for a weekend or a few weeks at a time.

The move will likely help the state’s case against the city of Austin’s ordinance.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing the city arguing its restrictions on short-term rentals that prevents homeowners from using their property as they see fit.

The state’s decision is one longtime rental property owner Joel Rasmussen has been waiting on.

“This just shows that Texas does support and protects property rights,” he said. 

And, just like the state, Rasmussen also believe Austin should follow suit. 

“The city of Austin is going to have to rewrite its ordinance, there’s no other way,” he said. “There are so many parts that are unconstitutional.”

But Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo says she doesn’t see the state’s court ruling applying here. 

“This case is really quite different, it involved a homeowner’s association and not a municipality and cities like Austin, municipalities, have the right to regulate zoning,” she said. 

Tovo says these short-term rental properties cause trouble in her district.

“We have groups coming in and out every weekend sometimes having parties something large groups of people.”

Tovo says these types of rental properties are used like businesses so are classified as commercial, but Rasmussen says that’s not the case.

“There are houses all around me that are furnished rentals, you would never know because people go in, they do their dishes, they have a glass of wine, they watch TV and they go to bed and that’s what happens,” he said. 

But Tovo says some people just don’t want them and stands by the city’s ordinance.

“I believe we did a very good thing when we said we do not want to have commercial short-term rentals in our neighborhoods, those invest your own properties that are 100 percent of the time, really mini-hotels in the midst of our areas,” she said. 

Rasmussen says he just hopes something can be solved. “This is not new, what’s new is that people have a boogeyman called Air B&B or HomeAway that they get really agitated about and they want to attack that idea by taking away people’s rights, and that’s not going to stand.”

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