First it was Uber and Lyft, now Texas municipalities are fighting to regulate web-based rental companies Airbnb and HomeAway.
The Texas Public Policy Foundation sued the city of Austin on behalf of short-term rental property owners over the city's ordinance aimed to crack down on noise and other issues. Attorney Rob Henneke calls it unconstitutional.
“The city of Austin has over 17,000 public disturbance complaints in any given year, but in the first three years of short-term rental regulation there were only 31 noise complaints total,” he says.
“It really seeks to eliminate the practice of short-term rentals, and along with that it carries criminal penalties, civil penalties, carries potential that your license to have a short-term rental could be revoked.”
Galveston also has seen a spike in short-term rental properties with the rising popularity of Airbnb. Henneke argues Texans have every right to rent out their home, if it's used like they would use it.
“People eating there, sleeping there, watching TV, socializing with their friends, the type of activities that happen within a residence and are completely consistent with the use of that property as a short-term rental.”