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A Safe Bet: Airbnbs and Other Short-Term Rentals Will Be Regulated in San Antonio

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Under proposed regulations for Airbnbs and other short-term rentals, City Hall probably could not house overnight visitors. - SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Shutterstock
  • Under proposed regulations for Airbnbs and other short-term rentals, City Hall probably could not house overnight visitors.

City council is, for the most part, intent on regulating Airbnbs and other short-term rentals – something the city doesn't currently do. The only real question is, how?

But that's a big, hairy question that's resulted in a lot of sniping between people who rent their residential properties (or the upstairs or downstairs or guest houses) to overnight visitors, neighborhoods, the hotel and motel industry, and other interests.

The city's original proposal to oversee short-term rentals – sparked by a request in 2017 by then-District 10 Councilman Mike Gallagher, who worried about the mini-businesses' impact on neighborhoods – went down in flames last spring.

This afternoon, council members will get a briefing on the updated proposal to regulate San Antonios' estimated 1,600 STR units.

Depending on your perspective, here are a few of the highlights/lowlights of the revised rules:
  • STR operators can't provide food or beverage services to guests, or space for events such as meetings, weddings or parties
  • Operators must register with the city and pay a $100 fee as well as a  $100 renewal fee every three years
  • Each STR unit must have its own registration
  • Operators can do "self-certification" for safety and other requirements, with city inspectors dropping by only if they're suspicious or have received a complaint
  • Any property that's received a city housing incentive is ineligible for a permit
City Council will ultimately have to vote on how the city will regulate Airbnbs and other STRs.

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