This week the Austin City Council took a major step forward in addressing the enforcement issues regarding non-compliant and non-licensed short term rentals in our community. Council Member Gallo's resolution with enforcement recommendations was first heard at the Planning and Neighborhood Council Committee meeting on Monday.
After more than four hours of public comments by neighbors, short-term rental owners, industry representatives and several hours of discussion by the Council Committee members, the late night meeting ended at 2:45 in the morning with recommendations passed on to the Council to hear on Thursday. Council Member Gallo suggested that her resolution and the city manager's recommendations be divided into two groups. One group of recommendations would be discussed at Thursday's Council meeting. The remaining, more complicated recommendations would be discussed at the September Planning and Neighborhood meeting and then heard at the following Council meeting. Council Member Gallo wanted to make sure we get this issue right and take the time to think about and discuss the more complicated issues, giving residents and the industry the opportunity to continue to offer recommendations and suggestions.
Thursday the Council approved the first group of recommendations for improving enforcement of non-compliant and non-licensed short term rentals. The only change to the proposed Resolution was the removal of recommendation #5 on page five, "setting the occupancy limit for short term rentals." This recommendation was removed and added to the additional recommendations which would be discussed in September. Click here to read the resolution passed by Council.
In September the following recommendations from Council Member Gallo's original resolution will be discussed:
1) Occupancy limits
3) Required insurance
4) Distance requirements between type 2 STRs
Click the video below to hear more from Council Member Gallo as Council discussed the short-term rental issue on Thursday. You will also hear the comments from neighbors, stakeholders and other City Council Members.
In her closing remarks, Council Member Gallo thanked Code Department leaders for their presence at the numerous District 10 meetings and being available to address the issues and answer the many questions our office and the neighbors have had. She also thanked Code for implementing the PACE Enhanced Enforcement program in July and closed her remarks to Code and the City Manager saying, "but after spending over three months on the issue of the lack of enforcement, I say to the Director of the Code Department, do your job. Use the tools you have and the new tools you will soon be given. To the City Manager I say... the community, the Council and I hold you responsible for enforcing the non-compliant properties and owners. We expect you to make sure that our city departments uphold and enforce our codes and ordinances."
Please remember, it is not our intention to affect the operations of the short-term rentals whose owners are operating in compliance with city code and the ordinance. Our goal is to fix the lack of enforcement of short-term rental regulations which result in the disruption our neighborhoods by operating in violation of the ordinance or operating without a license.
Council Member Gallo looks forward to working together with you to reach this goal!
Please continue to report non-compliant short-term rentals in your neighborhood by contacting Austin Code Department by calling "3-1-1."