Short-Term Rental Ordinance Update

The city of San Antonio has been developing an ordinance to limit the ability of property owners to rent out properties on a short-term basis. These short-term rentals are rentals of rooms or entire properties for a period of 30 days or less and are often listed on websites such as Airbnb, Vacation Rentals by Owners (VRBO), and Craigslist. Under current law, short-term rental property owners should be submitting the Hotel Occupancy Tax to the state and city, but no other regulations specifically pertain to short-term rental properties. Former city councilman Mike Gallagher submitted a Council Consideration Request to investigate and develop a proposed ordinance for short-term rental properties. The short-term rental task force has nearly completed a proposed ordinance, and it contains several provisions of concern.

SABOR is specifically concerned about the following provisions:

  • Short-term rental property owners will be required to pass an inspection as part of the permitting process. The ordinance does not clearly state the process for inspections: there is no notice requirement which means inspectors could show up at any time, including when there is a tenant in the unit, and the parameters of the required inspection are undefined so it is unclear what portions of the house may be inspected.
  • Short-term rental property owners will be subject to having their permit revoked if they receive three or more citations, including citations their tenants receive. Permits should not be suspended or evoked to due a violation committed by a short-term rental tenant. The ordinance should follow the city’s Property Maintenance code which fines the person who violates a provision.
  • Short-term rental property owners will be required to have a 24-hour contact person who must return an officer’s call within one hour. In order to comply with this requirement, property owners will likely be forced to hire a property manager to be named as the contact person.
  • Short-term rental properties that are not owner-occupied will be required to apply for a special exception in order to operate. Notice of special exception applications will be mailed to property owners within 200 feet of the short-term rental property, effectively giving neighbors the power to formally object to the rental. Short-term rental special exceptions will have to be renewed every three years, and if the special exception is not granted, the short-term property owner will have to wait a year before they can reapply.

SABOR would like feedback from its members on the issues above. Please contact Rebecca O’Connor, Government Affairs Manager with your thoughts and ideas at Rebecca@sabor.com or 210-593-1200. The proposed ordinance can be found on the Development Services webpage or here. Please note the most current version may not yet be available.

For interested parties, the short-term rental task-force will hold a general meeting on November 14th from 5:30-7:00 p.m. at the Department of Development Services, 1901 S. Alamo. This is an opportunity for the public to come and voice their concerns over the proposed ordinance.

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