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Austin Short Term Rentals Going Under The Radar
Thousands of people will soon be pouring into Austin for the South by Southwest film, interactive, and music festivals.
The City of Austin said there are about 1,000 short term rental homes in Austin, but it has only issued about 250 licenses as they gear up for the flock of people departing for the city.
The city's code compliance department said the "catch me if you can" mentality of hundreds of people trying to avoid the permit fee is making it difficult for the city to enforce regulations.
Bloggers have popped up online suggesting ways to beat the ordinance system.
"We need to be able to regulate public safety," Matthew Christianson, with the city's code department, said. "It is a new program, and there are folks that no matter what you try to do they are going to skirt the law."
The short term licensing fee is $285. The fine for not getting a license is up to $2,000 and a Class C misdemeanor. The city said it is trying to crack down and has sent out hundreds of letters to people advertising as vacation rentals.
Sharon Walker, a luxury short term rental specialist with Den Property Group, has helped turn 50 properties into vacation homes for the festival. She said she thinks the city ordinance is "foggy" and is frustrating with the loopholes.
"We want all of our clients to comply with the city because it is a requirement," Walker said. "Homeowners that are advertising that haven't gotten a rental aren't short term rentals, so they shouldn't have to be registered."
The short term rental license is good for one year.
By Cassie Gallo