Texas Supreme Court Sides with Short-Term Renters

Texas Supreme Court Sides with Short-Term Renters, Likely Bolstering State’s Fight Against Austin’s Ordinance

The Texas Supreme Court has sided with short-term renters, delivering a win to Texas homeowners who hope to take advantage of websites like Airbnb and HomeAway, and likely bolstering a separate, ongoing case against the City of Austin’s short-term rental ordinance.

Kenneth Tarr bought a home near San Antonio in 2012, but when his employer transferred him to Houston two years later, he began to rent it out on a short-term basis. His homeowners’ association soon took issue with that, telling him that the practice violated his deed restrictions, which said his home had to be used “solely for residential purposes.”

Tarr and his lawyers argued that short-term rentals did constitute a residential purpose: Visitors ate, slept and entertained themselves as anyone would at home. The homeowners’ association countered that Tarr’s property operated more like a hotel than a home, meaning it was primarily serving a commercial purpose...

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