Attorney General Ken Paxton asked the Court of Appeals for the Third Judicial District in Austin to reverse a trial court’s judgment and rule that the city of Austin’s stringent ordinance against short-term rentals exceeds the lawful scope of the city’s authority and infringes upon property owners’ fundamental constitutional rights.
Short-term rentals have been around at least since Texas independence and have played important roles in local communities over the years. They have provided temporary accommodations for veterans returning from combat, minorities that were wrongfully denied public accommodations in the Jim Crow era, evacuees from natural disasters such as Hurricane Harvey in 2017, and those looking for new homes. But now, through the current ordinance, the city of Austin seeks to end this rich history and tradition of freedom.
In October 2016, Attorney General Paxton intervened in a lawsuit against the city of Austin that was filed by the Texas Public Policy Foundation on behalf of several short-term rental owners and guests. Austin’s ordinance phases out short-term rental permits by 2022 for homeowners who want to rent out their secondary homes. But by taking away its citizens’ property right to lease their homes as they see fit, the city has violated their constitutional rights.
“City governments do not have the authority to trample Texas constitutional rights and protections for property owners and their guests,” Attorney General Paxton said. “The city of Austin’s short-term rental ordinance is not only bad policy, but also unlawful and must be struck down.”