Tips for Listing your Home as a Vacation Rental for SXSW

Renting a house for a short period of time has become an increasingly popular option for Austin homeowners looking for a little extra money in their pockets and tourists seeking housing. With SXSW kicking off this week, the demand for short-term rentals (STR) is expected to spike. If you’re a homeowner looking to rent your home for a period of less than 30 days, there are some important factors you should consider before taking the plunge.

Are you ready?

Before jumping into the short-term rental market, make sure you’re prepared to be a landlord. Here are some simple tips to remember before renting out your property:

  1. Find the most qualified applicant (and set qualifying criteria before doing so).
  2. Set your pricing based on a market analysis on surrounding STRs in your area. Consider availability, timing, etc. when setting your price.
  3. Determine how you will check your applicants’ backgrounds.
  4. Do your research—Chapter 92 of the Texas Property Code covers every aspect of renting. Before becoming a landlord, even if it is part time, it’s a smart idea to read up on your responsibilities.
  5. If you’re not ready to become a landlord, reach out to qualified professionals to get the job done. has a vast database of real estate professionals that specialize in rentals, or check out other professional organizations like the National Association of Residential Property Managers.

Obtain a license from the City of Austin

A City of Austin Ordinance requires operators of short-term rentals, sometimes called vacation rentals by owner (VRBO), to obtain a license to operate. The ordinance classifies three different types of STRs:

  • Type I: Owner-occupied, single-family, multifamily, or duplex;
  • Type II: Not owner-occupied, single-family or duplex; and
  • Type III: Not owner occupied, multi-family (condo, apartment, etc.).

Depending on the type of STR, you’ll have a different City of Austin application to complete. Here’s the list of items you’ll need to submit along with your application:

This helpful video explains the City of Austin ordinance in full detail.

Find your application as well as more details about the ordinance on the City of Austin’s Short-Term Rental Licensing Web page. Download licensing FAQs and checklist here.

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