Texas Legislative Issues/News: One of the issues being dealt with in the current session of the Texas state legislature concerns regulations of short-term rentals by individual local governments, such as Austin. Companies such as Airbnb allow people to rent their homes or rooms in their homes for short-term guests through an online app, much like people arrange for car rides through Uber. People can rent rooms, in effect turning their family homes into a bed and breakfast, or lease out their vacation homes when they are not using them.
Austin, according to the Austin American-Statesman, has imposed relatively stringent regulations on short-term rentals such as Airbnb. The city imposes strict limits on the capacity for such rentals and seeks to phase them out entirely by 2022 in residential neighborhoods.
The legislation being advanced by state Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills would prohibit local governments from barring short term rentals and would allow only safety and health regulations.
The hotel industry opposes this kind of short term rental arrangement because it says that it grants special permission for a business to operate in a residential area that is not available for other enterprises. Short-term rentals also tend to undercut hotel rooms on price and often on service.
Opponents of short-term rental arrangements recounted horror stories, including one of a film crew that rented a house in a neighborhood and staged a gun battle in the street. Proponents of such arrangements maintain that such bad actors are few and far between and that responsible renters should not be penalized because of them.
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