The city of San Antonio is known by many names such as The Alamo and the Home of Spurs. What’s also known about the great city is that it, like many cities in Texas, is one of the best cities for Airbnb and traditional real estate investments! Why is SA such a great city for Airbnb? It’s simple, the city has one of the most important Airbnb success factors: a lack of Airbnb legal problems. That being said, what do San Antonio Airbnb laws look like, and what should Airbnb investors know?
If you’ve been following San Antonio news recently, you would know that the City Council is close to voting on a proposed ordinance concerning short-term rentals, which includes Airbnb. This development has been occurring since early 2017, and the vote is expected to be finalized sometime in February 2018. To understand how things got to where they are now, and what implications this has for real estate investors, let’s take a step back and briefly examine the older status of San Antonio Airbnb laws.
Previous Status of San Antonio Airbnb Laws
Since 2015, SA has been a frequent candidate in lists ranking the best cities for Airbnb in the US. Like other Texan cities, San Antonio’s Airbnb success factors included being a cultural hub rich in history, having affordable properties, hosting a major sports team, and of course, being in a state with no personal income tax. All of these Airbnb success factors are vital, but what is most important of all is the city’s short-term rental regulations. Or to put it more accurately, it’s lack of said regulations.
Because Texas legislature has failed to establish STR regulations, cities are meant to pass their own local ordinances. But for some years, San Antonio Airbnb laws have not been formally established. Having no official legislation dealing with short-term rentals has been a blessing and a curse to some degree. We’ll discuss the downside shortly. The bright side to having no official STR status is having no stringent regulations. This has served very well for real estate investors in San Antonio, as not dealing with Airbnb legal challenges leads to a better investing experience. As the R Street Roomscore 2016 Report, which ranks US cities based off their STR legality, mentions, San Antonio is among the “silent cities” in terms of STR regulation. The city does not explicitly ban or permit short-term rentals. As a matter of fact, San Antonio was one of a few cities to receive a score of 90 in the report because of its lack of rigorous short-term rental regulations, although it lacks any legal framework for STRs.
What Caused the Proposed Change?
Of course, something must have went wrong to cause an ordinance to be drafted by the City Council. As you would expect in the case of a city with no STR legislation, complaints pertaining to Airbnb properties ensued. Problems such as loud noises, parking at night, and simply the presence of strangers in a neighborhood helped spark the need for an STR ordinance. To add on to the last point, some residents are against non-owner-occupied Airbnb properties, as they believe such properties change the nature of residential areas into commercial ones. Also, the idea of real estate investors not paying their fair share of hotel occupancy taxes (HOT) does not sit well with the city.
The Proposed San Antonio Airbnb Laws Ordinance
Overall, the City Council sees that Airbnb has its positives and negatives; it provides income to real estate investors, but there is a lack of oversight, especially when things go wrong. As a result, the proposed ordinance seeks to legalize and regulate Airbnb investing in San Antonio, making sure everything is in check.
Some real estate investors might be worried, since sometimes government regulations and Airbnb have not had a great history, as seen in cities like New York and San Francisco. There’s no reason to be concerned with the proposed San Antonio Airbnb laws. They include the basic, yet significant, rules that must be in place. SA will likely continue to be one of the best cities for Airbnb with the new regulations. No matter the situation, whenever you ask, “Is an Airbnb a good investment in San Antonio?”, the answer will always be yes!
Here is the most recent proposed ordinance. At the time of this writing, the ordinance remains as a draft, so some aspects of it might be altered once it is in full effect.
Highlights of the Proposed Ordinance
Overall, the proposed San Antonio Airbnb laws are nothing out of the ordinary and won’t cause Airbnb legal challenges for real estate investors. Here are the main takeaways of the proposed San Antonio Airbnb laws:
To avoid any Airbnb legal problems, Airbnb hosts should be familiar with the definition of an STR in their respective locations. Under the proposed ordinance, short-term rentals in San Antonio are defined as residences of less than 30 consecutive days.
As is the case in virtually all cities to limit Airbnb legal challenges, real estate investors will require a short-term rental permit. Two types of permits are being proposed:one for owner-occupied properties and another for non-owner-occupied properties. Each permit will be valid for 3 years after the date on which it is issued. The application of either permit will include a one-time fee of $200, and a $100 fee for renewals. The permit number must be included in advertisements.
Rental of Unit
If the property is owner-occupied (known as Type 1, according to the ordinance draft), the Airbnb host can rent out less than the entire unit (i.e., a room or part of the property). However, if the property is non-owner-occupied (Type 2), the unit must be rented out in its entirety. Real estate investors are also required to provide one off-street parking spot per listing.
Hotel Occupancy Taxes
San Antonio Airbnb investors taxes currently stand at 16.75%. The proposed ordinance requires investors to property register for Hotel Occupancy Taxes as a prerequisite for obtaining a permit.
Is an Airbnb a good investment once these San Antonio Airbnb laws become codified? Absolutely! The proposed ordinance will set some must-needed San Antonio Airbnb laws to avoid Airbnb legal problems. These laws will serve as a win-win for the government, real estate investors, and residents. From now on, whenever you ask, “Where is Airbnb legal in Texas?”, San Antonio will be one of the answers. Be sure to check the status of San Antonio Airbnb laws, as changes in the ordinance may occur by the time it is implemented.
For answers to more questions like “Where is Airbnb legal?” and “Is an Airbnb a good investment?“, visit the Mashvisor blog! To get started in investing in Airbnb properties, start your trial with Mashvisor today!