Final Four Brings Windfall To Airbnb Hosts, But San Antonio May Miss Out On Tax Dollars

Apr 2, 2018

Airbnb hosts are making a lot of money this Final Four weekend. In a news release, the company said its hosts will reap $600,000 in bookings on the vacation and home-sharing platform.


Based on data from the state comptroller, that’s 45 percent of its average monthly receipts in just four days.

But San Antonio might not see the full Hotel Occupancy Tax bill paid on those rentals, as the city doesn’t maintain a registry for short-term rental properties. HOT taxes pay for the convention center expansion and other tourism efforts. The city relies largely on the honor system for payment from owners.

According to the website AirDNA, more than 2,300 active whole home properties are being rented within the San Antonio municipal statistical area. That doesn’t include rentals on similar online platforms HomeAway and VRBO, or single room rentals through Airbnb. In February, the city said around 260 properties were paying the required tax. The city has since identified additional homes, bringing the number to 358.

The city struggles to regulate short-term rentals in San Antonio, forming a task force that produced a contentious draft ordinance that has yet to be voted on.

The task force — made up of STR and hotel operators, and neighborhood association members — proposed a set of regulations, including density requirements and a registry. Many of the task force members admitted they were unhappy with the ordinances.

At three public meetings dozens turned out to speak against the draft ordinance.

Neighborhood representatives thought it didn’t go far enough to protect communities from being overrun by rentals. STR operators thought it went too far in regulating their personal property rights.

Head of Development Services Michael Shannon said in a committee hearing that neither side liked the draft ordinance.

According to the city, homeowners are liable for back taxes. Airbnb began paying the state’s 6 percent portion of the HOT tax last May. The deal included a provision protecting homeowners from the state going after back taxes.

The ordinance is tentatively scheduled for a full council briefing later this month.

Paul Flahive can be reached at paul@tpr.org or follow him on Twitter @paulflahive