Short term rentals popular for SXSW, but require licensing through city

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — South by Southwest is just a little more than a month away, and homeowners and renters who don’t plan to stay in Austin are already putting their homes up for rent during that time in March.

Nicole Forbes is a business consultant for tech start-ups. SXSW is big part of her year.

“It’s huge,” she said. “It’s huge for opportunity, not only to meet perspective new clients–young startups I might be interested in working with–but also to meet all the new vendors that are out there.”

Not everyone in Austin values those several days in March. Forbes says, if you’ve got to escape, rent out your home or apartment.

“The amount of money you can make from doing that, renting out for 10 days, you can pay your mortgage or rent for that month and take a little trip.”

Before you list your home or apartment online though, make sure you’re aware of the city’s guidelines for what it calls “short term rentals.” There’s paperwork and cash you’re expected to turn in to the city.

The city considers a rental “short term” if it’s is for less than 30 days. An application and a $285 fee are required. The city is also collecting hotel occupancy taxes.

Fines for not having the proper licensing can cost up to $2,000 a day. The city also restricts how many residences in a given area can be licensed for a short term rental.

A hefty checklist, or, you can stick around and embrace it.

“South By has been around forever, well, since the 70s,” Forbes said. ‘A lot longer than most the people complaining about it.”

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