How short term rentals could impact AISD enrollment numbers

Residents opposing short term rentals.

AUSTIN (KXAN) —  Dozen stuck it out at City Hall until 2:30 a.m., waiting for the City Council to tackle discussions impacting the future of short terms rentals. Most notably Type 2 STRs, rentals where the owner is not on site. At last check, 179 people were signed up to speak in the public hearing portion.

One line of discussion that’s expected to come up is how STR locations could be playing a role in Austin ISD’s declining population in Central and East Austin schools.

Bertha Delgado is one of many on the east side, and really, all over Austin, all fighting to keep neighborhoods filled with families rather than short term rentals. Living on Haskell Street, she’s seen taxes increases, homes torn down, and families uprooted, forced to move to the outer edges of the city in search of affordable housing options.

“If we keep allowing these STRs (Type 2’s) to continue to grow in the city, in every district, we are going to be doomed. Meaning there will not be no more families in schools. And I’m afraid of that and I hope that they see that we’re taking a stand,” Delgado told KXAN.

She and her children, her parents and grandparents live just blocks away from Martin Junior High and Metz Elementary, an elementary school city statistics show is among several that have seen a steady decline in population. It’s also an area that’s home to 23 percent of Austin’s licensed Type 2 STRs, city data shows. 

“They have occupied homes that could BE families,” Delgado said, saying she wants to see Type 2 STRs moved to commercial zones.

People like Sharon Walker, owner of Walker Luxury Vacation Rentals and a Type 2 owner herself, disagree Type 2 STRs play any part in AISD’s declining enrollment.

“The homes that we have allotted to short term rentals have little to no impact on our current housing market,” Walker said. “What does affect how many children are in our schools is the inability to build homes that are large enough to accommodate the families that would put the children into those schools.”

Rather than add regulations, she says Council should be concerned with enforcing rules already established.

“We have a successful system in place. The problem is, those rules aren’t being enforced,” Walker said.

Those on both sides of the incredibly divisive issue couldn’t be further apart. The only common ground, that neither side feel their voice is being heard. .

“We are not gonna just sit here and let, and let this happen and we not do anything about it,” Delgado said.

To view statistics of short term rental property locations relative to AISD Central and East elementary schools and enrollment numbers via the City Council Message Board, click here. 

Amendments Council will consider include but are not limited to:

  • Inspection every three years for STR license renewals.
  • Add a distance limitation between Type 2 short-term rentals: 1000 feet from an existing Type 2 short-term rental, unless grandfathered (if the license is issued prior to a certain date, the license is not suspended, and is
    timely renewed).
  • Require an applicant to provide local contact information.
  • Require a certification related to outstanding City Code violations at the property.
  • Limit reliance on certificates of occupancy to certificates issued within the last 10 years.
  • Require a determination from Austin Water that the septic system complies with City Code.
  • Authorize the director to deny a renewal application if the license is currently suspended, other violations
    exist, or if repeat offenses occur at the property.
  • A violation of the short-term rental regulations is grounds to deny, suspend, or revoke a license.

New general requirements:

  • Maintain a guest registry.
  • Limit use of sound equipment and noise/music.
  • Prohibit occupancy of a short-term rental if the building permit does not allow occupancy.
  • Require advertisements or promotions to include license numbers and occupancy limit.
  • Prohibit advertising or promoting a short-term rental if it is not licensed.
  • Prohibit advertising or promoting a short-term rental in a manner that violates the City Code.
  • Create specific occupancy limits at short-term rentals and general use of short-term rentals. (Council initiated.)
  • Authorize the director to deny an initial application for a license if applicant violates City Code (or, if applicable, state law) a certain number of times during a specific timeframe.
  • Require a non-compliant property owner to pay a non-compliance fee when applying for or renewing a short-term rental license.
  • Create evidence standards that show a violation of the occupancy and advertising requirements.
  • Remove short-term rental use from Section 25-2-511 (Dwelling Unit Occupancy)
  • Phase out existing Type 2 short-term rentals by April 1, 2022.

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