The capital of Texas, Austin, is full of stunning lakes, scenic parks and the renowned University of Texas main campus. All of these elements pull in millions of travelers each year, which drives the tourism industry to magnificent levels.
Plenty of individuals offer short-term rentals on the Airbnb platform to make it easy for travelers to find somewhere to stay. However, in order to curb the overwhelming influx of short-term rentals into the Austin rental market, lawmakers established a set of rules which regulate the area and prevent people from listing places illegally.
Although, when it comes to Airbnb law in Austin, authorities have made the process very simple. If you want to operate your property as a short-term rental – a unit rented out for less than 30 days – all you need to do is have a valid operating license. Once you have the license, it only lasts for 12 months, so you’ll need to renew it every year if you want to continue operating.
Although the law may appear to be quite stringent, it’s actually one of the more lenient ones from around the world. Austin hasn’t implemented any noticeable restrictions or limitations, they’ve just put a system in place which ensures every Airbnb host is operating legally. When you have your operating license, you’re free to generate as much revenue as possible.
Here’s how you apply for an operating license:
- Fill out the short-term rental license application which you’ll be able to find on the Austin Texas government website
- Pay an application fee of $443.00 to the City of Austin either with cash or a cheque
- You’ll then need to show proof that your property is fully insured by providing the declarations, information and summary pages from your insurance policy
- If you’ve been using your property as a short-term rental, you’ll need to show proof that you’ve been paying your hotel occupancy taxes
- Finally, you’ll need to obtain a certificate of occupancy or a certified inspection
Here’s how you renew your operating license:
- Firstly, you’ll need to pay the renewal charge of $236.00, which is not refundable
- You’ll also need to show proof that your property still has valid insurance covering it
- Lastly, you’ll need to provide evidence that you’ve been paying your hotel occupancy taxes, which are mandatory on all short-term rentals. You can do that by showing a copy of your most recent quarterly tax report and a copy of a canceled check
Be careful, if you try to list your property on Airbnb without owning an operating license, you’ll face serious penalties. Austin has a smart 3-1-1 smartphone app which allows their residents to anonymously report any short-term rental violations. Other than the operating license, there are no other serious regulations that you need to be aware of.