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Updated: City Council Votes to Put a Hold on Short-Term Rental Type 2 Licenses

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Jon Shapley/KUT News
City Council will vote Thursday on whether to ban new short-term rental licenses in Austin for six months.

The home rental listing site Airbnb has announced a promise to work with cities and to pay what it calls its “fair share of taxes.” This news comes as Austin’s City Council has begun cracking down on short-term rentals. At a public hearing Thursday Council will hear feedback about its plan to put a hold on some rentals.

Update Friday 11 a.m. At Thursday's meeting, City Council passed a one-year moratorium on type 2 short term rental (STR) permits. The moratorium will expire in a year, unless the Council decides to extend it.

Council will review the plan next December to see if it helped curb some of the abuse that prompted the city to start reforming its STR policies.

They will hold a public hearing before they decide whether or not to extend the moratorium again.

The noise at Council over short-term rentals began to peak back in August.

Council asked staff to draft new rules limiting occupancy to six people, requiring property inspections and banning parties in short-term rentals. After that, the conversation died down.

Now, they’re back at it. After Thursday's public feedback hearing, council will take a final vote on banning any new short-term rentals with type 2 licenses.

The type 2 designation, explains Marcus Elliot with the City’s Code Department, just means that a unit is primarily used by the owners as a rental — not as their primary living space.

“You have a home that specifically is being rented out as a commercial establishment. You don't have an owner that's living there,” Elliot says.

That's as opposed to a type 1 short term rental, the most common type in Austin: A room or part of a home that's used as a rental unit by owners who also live on that property.

At first, Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo suggested suspending any new licenses for six months — though she says she'd actually prefer a longer-term suspension period.

“It’s my intention to suspend them indefinitely,” she says.

During this time Tovo says code officers will have a chance to evaluate how the new regulations governing all short-term rentals are working. The public hearing on STRs type 2 is confirmed to start by 6 p.m. today.

We'll update this post later today with developments from the Austin City Council session.

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