You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

Bill to overturn Austin short-term rental rules clears state Senate


The bill would bar cities from prohibiting such rentals and allow regulations only for health and safety.

Austin’s current ordinance has strict limits on capacity and phases out full-time rental houses by 2022.

A bill that would overturn Austin’s rules governing short-term rental properties passed the Texas Senate on Tuesday, bringing it a step closer to becoming law.

The bill, from Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, would bar cities from prohibiting short-term rentals and allow jurisdictions to regulate them only for health and safety purposes.

The fight over short-term rental properties, often listed on sites such as Airbnb or HomeAway, has been contentious in Austin, pitting neighbors complaining of party houses in residential areas against owners who say they provide a valid service. City rules passed last year place strict limits on capacity in such houses and phase out full-time short term rentals altogether by 2022.

Proponents of the Senate bill argue that rules such as Austin’s trample private property rights, while creating a confusing patchwork of regulations across the state.

TEXAS POLITICS DELIVERED EVERY DAY: Sign up for our Texas Politics email

Sens. Larry Taylor, R-Galveston, Kirk Watson, D-Austin, and José Menéndez, D-San Antonio, all attempted amendments to Hancock’s bill to exempt their own regions from it. Each argued separately that his region is a unique tourist area — for beach houses, music festivals and historic neighborhoods, respectively — and deserves to have regulations reflect that.

“We would like to have a fit that makes more sense for our community,” Menéndez said.

Those amendments all failed. Hancock said the goal is the standardize rules across the state. He noted that the bill still allows cities to regulate noise and health/safety issues.

“Most of the concerns we got were about noise, and we allow noise limits to stay in place,” he said.

The bill passed the Senate, 21-10. It defines short-term rental as a residential property rented for less than 30 days. It allows cities to register such rentals, but does not allow cities to prohibit them on private property. Homeowners associations, which are not covered by the bill, could still pass restrictions on them.

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK: Our Lone Star Politics page brings Capitol news to your Facebook feed

The bill will now move to consideration by the Texas House. Tuesday’s Senate vote came as Mayor Steve Adler was testifying before the House Committee on Urban Affairs on a similar short term rental bill. The mayor defended Austin’s ordinance, arguing that full-time rental properties are more like boutique hotels.

In an interview after the hearing he said: “The hope still remains that the Legislature will recognize the difference between the sharing economy’s use of owner-occupied homes to make additional money on the weekends or using a room in the house, versus the investor facilities that are moving into the middle of residential single family homes.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Politics

Austin worker who used resources for second job is latest in a string
Austin worker who used resources for second job is latest in a string

An Austin Energy information technology analyst used city equipment to send hundreds of emails and scan or print dozens of files related to his second job, according to an investigative audit released Friday — the latest in a series of probes that have shown employees working second jobs on the city clock. Brent Curry, a senior IT geospatial...
Immigrants’ rights rally draws more than 600 to San Antonio courthouse
Immigrants’ rights rally draws more than 600 to San Antonio courthouse

1:05 p.m. update: More than 600 immigrants rights protesters have been rallying against Senate Bill 4 in front of the federal courthouse in San Antonio, through intermittent showers and sunshine since early Monday morning. The Austin-based Workers Defense Project brought a bus full of about 50 people and left Austin at 6 a.m. Monday to attend the event...
Can Trump destroy Obama’s legacy?
Can Trump destroy Obama’s legacy?

When the judgment of history comes, former President Barack Obama might have figured he would have plenty to talk about. Among other things, he assumed he could point to his health care program, his sweeping trade deal with Asia, his global climate change accord and his diplomatic opening to Cuba. That was then. Five months after leaving office, Obama...
Trump's agenda: Approving private projects, including those of allies
Trump's agenda: Approving private projects, including those of allies

Just four days after he was inaugurated, President Donald Trump delivered a clear message that he would use his office to help industry friends and political allies. He signed a Jan. 24 executive order that assured completion of the Dakota Access pipeline, which will transport oil fracked by various companies, including one owned by Oklahoma oilman...
Bloomberg’s next move: $200 million program for mayors
Bloomberg’s next move: $200 million program for mayors

Michael Bloomberg will throw his financial might into helping beleaguered American mayors, creating a $200 million philanthropic program aimed at backing inventive policies at the city level and giving mayors a stronger hand in national politics. Bloomberg intends to announce the initiative Monday in a speech to the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Miami...
More Stories