Austin’s Unconstitutional Short-Term Rental Ordinance

The city of Austin requires residents to procure a license to lease their homes out on a short-term basis. In February 2016, the city of Austin passed Ordinance 20160223-A.1, which made permanent a moratorium on Type 2 rentals in residential areas, citing a need to crack down on short-term “party homes.” However, since the initiation of short-term rental licensing regulations in October 2012, no citations for noise, occupancy, trash or other violations of the Austin Municipal Code have been issued that are documented to have stemmed from licensed short-term rental properties or tenants. Additionally, less than 10 percent of the complaints filed against short-term rentals mention overcrowding or noise issues, and the city employs only two permanent enforcement officers to handle implementation of the STR Ordinance for the entire city of Austin. The STR Ordinance imposes severe restrictions on the rights of homeowners and tenants, and it raises serious constitutionality concerns.

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