San Antonio City Council votes to charge Airbnb owners hundreds more in fees

Councilman Jalen McKee-Rodriguez said the price hike is necessary to stop businesses from buying up single-family homes.

click to enlarge Short Term Rental owners will now be required to pay $300 for those who live on site, and $450 for those who don't reside at the property full time. - Shutterstock / Daniel Krason
Shutterstock / Daniel Krason
Short Term Rental owners will now be required to pay $300 for those who live on site, and $450 for those who don't reside at the property full time.
The San Antonio City Council voted unanimously Thursday to increase the cost of permits for those operating short-term rentals, such as Airbnb and Vrbo properties.

Previously, operators only had to pay $100 for a three-year permit to operate a short-term rental. To get a permit, owners also had to show proof of property insurance along with a onsite fire extinguisher and carbon monoxide detectors. Operators also had to pay a combined 16.75% in city, county and state taxes.

Those safety requirements and taxes remain in place after council's vote. However, the three-year permit cost will go up to $300 for those who live on-site — including those who rent out just a single room — and to $450 for those who don’t live full-time at the property.

Even so, the new permit prices are less than the $975 District 5 Councilwoman Teri Castillo initially proposed.

District 2 Councilman Jalen McKee-Rodriguez told colleagues during Council’s A Session a rise in permit prices is necessary to deter business and commercial interests from snapping up properties while San Antonio residents struggle to find affordable housing.

“With our permit fees being as low as they are, it’s an easy and profitable decision for investors and commercial businesses to use houses for short-term rentals instead of leaving them in the housing market,” the part-time math teacher said. “We need to make it less profitable for profit-seeking companies to take a scarce resource like housing and pimp it out as a small-scale hotel business instead of renting it to families in our community.”

Even so, numbers suggest San Antonio's housing market isn't getting tighter or more expensive.

There was 23% more housing inventory on the market last month in the San Antonio-New Braunfels metro than there was in February 2020, right the pandemic forced shutdowns across the U.S., according to the St. Louis Fed.

Moreover, the median price of single-family homes in the Alamo City has declined 2% over the past 12 months, according to the latest market report from the San Antonio Board of Realtors.

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Michael Karlis

Michael Karlis is a Staff Writer at the San Antonio Current. He is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., whose work has been featured in Salon, Alternet, Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, Orlando Weekly, NewsBreak, 420 Magazine and Mexico Travel Today. He reports primarily on breaking news, politics...

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