Tourism CommissionFeb. 14, 2024

STR Working Group Recommendations_Draft — original pdf

Thumbnail of the first page of the PDF
Page 1 of 4 pages

BOARD/COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION Austin Tourism Commission Recommendation Number: 20240214-005: The STR Working group outlines a multi-pronged approach to address the challenges posed by unlicensed short-term rentals (STRs) in Austin, Texas. The goal is to foster a responsible and sustainable STR ecosystem that benefits both the tourism industry and residents. WHEREAS, STRs operate in Austin, leading to lost revenue from hotel occupancy taxes, permit fees, and indirect costs such as increased enforcement and strain on City infrastructure; WHEREAS, Unreliable data hinders accurate estimates of lost tax revenue and poses risks related to inaccurate property information, host background checks, and health hazards; and WHEREAS, Legal limitations, such as the Zaatari vs. City of Austin case, restrict the City's ability to directly eliminate Type 2 STR licenses. NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Austin Tourism Commission recommends the City Council: • Require more information from applicants for STR licenses and maintain a database; Focus on underreported Hotel Occupancy Taxes (HOT) which leads to a loss in revenue. While the revenue generated from permit fees may seem insignificant compared to HOT revenue, permit fees are crucial in driving license adoption. This, in turn, helps drive compliance for licenses and maximizes HOT revenue, leading to a more efficient and effective system; • Enhance transparency and streamline licensing by simplifying the application process, implementing online systems, and addressing open citations by implementing an efficient tax and permit fee system; Prioritize safety and community well-being by upholding safety regulations through proactive inspections, addressing noise complaints, and promoting responsible guest behavior; Foster collaborative partnerships by building strategic partnerships with platforms, neighborhood associations, and the Austin Police Department; • • • 1 DRAFT • Rectify open citations held by non-compliant hosts and ensure accurate property listings via an accountable process to notify short-term rental platforms to remove hosts as appropriate. Once the necessary validations are completed, the property listings may be reposted; • Implement platform fees and hold platforms accountable for aiding non-compliance; • Explore innovative funding models for cultural & arts preservation and offering discounts and incentives for compliant and sustainable STRs; • Create performance benchmarks and an honorary "Best Practices" badge for STRs that consistently meet performance benchmarks; and • Continuously assess and adapt to changes in the Austin STR ecosystem by maintaining open communication channels, leveraging data-driven insights, and embracing consistent program review and adaptation. Date of Approval: _____________________________ Record of the vote: (Unanimous on a 7-0 vote, 4-3 vote with names of those voting no listed) Attest: _____________________________________________ (Staff or board member can sign) 2 DRAFT STR Work Group Engagements Non-Working Group Participants/Contributors Date Michael Whallen, Armbrust & Brown, PLLC November 1, 2023 Ryan Puzycki, Austin Tourism Commission STR Work Group Community Member November 1, 2023 Ashly Hodgini, Head of U.S. Public Policy at Expedia Group November 1, 2023 Michael McGill, Policy Director, Office of Council Member Ryan Alter November 15, 2023 Citalli Rivera, University of Texas Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs Graduate Student, who provided STR Briefing memo and impact analysis on housing market November 19, 2023 Daniel Word, Assistant Director, City of Austin Development Services Department Hayden Baggett, 3 Point Partners December 1, 2023 December 14, 2023 Luis Briones, 3 Point Partners December 14, 2023 Michael Whallen, Armbrust & Brown, PLLC January 17, 2024 Ashly Hodgini, Head of U.S. Public Policy at Expedia Group January 17, 2024 Luis Bonet, Self/ STR Owner January 2, 2024 Victoria Garment, Self / STR issues January 2, 2024 Lisa Roebuck, Self / STR issues January 2, 2024 Bruce Blumentritt, Self / STR issues January 2, 2024 Patti Aarons, Self/ STR issues January 2, 2024 Deborah Blumentritt, Self/ STR issues January 2, 2024 Andrea Giannotta, Self/STR issues January 2, 2024 3 DRAFT Stephanie Ashworth, co-founder of the Austin-based Texas Neighborhood Coalition January 2, 2024 Tom Noonan, President & CEO, Visit Austin January 30, 2024 Luis Briones, 3 Point Partners January 31, 2024 Trey Salinas, 3 Point Partners January 31, 2024 4 DRAFT