Short-term rentals skyrocket as SXSW visitors flood Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The shortage of hotel rooms during South by Southwest has led to a boom in short-term rentals.

In the last year, The City of Austin has added new requirements to manage all the growth. To rent out your property, you have to pay a $285 fee and register with the city for a short rental license.

Because of SXSW, the city’s code compliance office says they have been flooded with applications.

Right now they have issued 795 active licenses to people looking to rent out their homes, and most of those properties are going to SXSW visitors who say it’s a better deal.

“You’re not dealing with the hotel situation, with the check-in, check-out, you have a lot more privacy,” said Louis Torrellas, visiting from Los Angeles. “And you just generally get more bang for your buck.”

Because of the increase in applications, the city’s code compliance office has added extra staff to help out. Before SXSW, homeowners could expect to wait 3-5 days to have their application processed. That wait time is now up to 10-14 days.

To handle enforcement, the city says it looks for properties that are not following the rules and it investigates complaints from neighbors. Once city employees confirm a home owner is breaking the rules, they sent a non-compliance letter.

The owner has 14 days to apply for a license, or they get a notice of violation.  Citations for violating the city code could cost up to $2,000. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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