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San Antonio settles on new rules for home rental sites like Airbnb

San Antonio settles on new rules for home rental sites like Airbnb

San Antonio Wish-listed Airbnb
Airbnb's like this one in San Antonio are now under tighter regulation.  Airbnb

After months of will they, won't they, the San Antonio City Council has passed new regulations for residents who use short-term rental sites like Airbnb and HomeAway. On November 1, the city council voted to enact a new policy which requires property owners to apply for permits for their rental and pay taxes on the income they receive from renting their spaces.

Though the regulations are effective immediately, renters now have 90 days to register with the City of San Antonio. Eventually, the city will streamline the process via a website where new operators can apply for permits, and current renters can submit payments. 

The new ordinance not only tightened restrictions on home owners, but also added language to protect neighbors from things like noise violations and short-term rentals turning into impromptu event venues. Moving forward, any property owner found in violation of these rules will receive a violation. After three, the permit holder will be considered a "bad operator" and their permit revoked. 

Calling the decision "thoughtful regulation," District 1 Councilman Roberto Trevino applauded the decision. “The policy put forth today ensures the equitable distribution of STRs across San Antonio as it is flexible in areas where Short-Term Rentals do not exist and stricter in areas where they are already present," said Trevino in a release.

The new regulations are similar to those enacted in other Texas cities, including Austin. In a statement, Airbnb congratulated the San Antonio City Council for passing "clear and fair rules."

"Airbnb and our San Antonio hosts commend Mayor Nirenberg and the City Council for their landmark achievement in recognizing and empowering the home sharing community," said Laura Spanjian, Airbnb Texas policy director, in the statement. "They have led an inclusive and transparent process to achieve a fair regulatory environment for hosts — one that can serve as a model for the rest of Texas."