Texas Attorney General Wants to Join a Lawsuit Over Austin's Short-Term Rental Regulations

Oct 5, 2016

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is seeking to intervene in a lawsuit filed this summer, challenging the City of Austin's regulations for short-term rental properties like those you'd find on HomeAway or AirBnb.

Earlier this year, the Austin City Council passed new regulations for such properties, including a plan to phase out so-called “Type 2” short-term rentals, or STRs, which are not owner-occupied, by the year 2022.

Those who support the ordinance say it would cut down on noise and traffic from short-term rentals that essentially serve as mini-hotels in some residential neighborhoods.

Some restrictions on STRs, including caps on occupancy and curfews go into effect next year. The lawsuit, filed in June, seeks to overturn those limitations.

“The city of Austin’s ordinance imposes unreasonable and unlawful caps on assembly within short-term rental properties,” said Rob Henneke, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, back in June.

In today's filing, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton argues the regulations are an unconstitutional taking of people's private property rights and also violate rights of free assembly and protections against unlawful search and seizure.

“This blatant overreach by local government infringes upon the constitutional rights of people who own and stay at short-term rentals,” Attorney General Paxton said in a written statement. “The city of Austin’s draconian ordinance defies logic and common sense, and must be struck down.”

The City of Austin has said it is prepared to defend the ordinance in court.