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City lowers short-term rental registration fees

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With just one month before one Formula 1 weekend which is expected to draw thousands, City Council Members are still discussing the new short-term rental ordinance.

The measure which requires short-term rentals to be registered with the city became effective October 1. But after major backlash from homeowners like Bob Easter about the registration process and the cost Council members are slashing one of the fees.

"It's too expensive. If they are only leasing out once or twice a year they're not bringing in that much money," said Easter.

The original cost to register a short-term rental was $476, which included a $241 notification fee. It is what the city assumed it would cost to notify nearby property owners of a possible short-term rental in their neighborhood. Thursday, the city lowered the fee to $50. They assume it will mean a loss of $286,000 per year but some say with events like Formula 1, SXSW and ACL it will be worth it.

"You have to take into account the amount of money that will be coming into the community as a result of this and that will far exceed the offset we have right here," said Alan Pease.

The city will also be able to collect hotel and occupancy taxes from registered short-term rentals.

Out of an estimated 1,500 short-term rentals that operate within city limits there are less than two dozen homes registered.

"We want everyone to be registered so the city knows where all the properties are and it just makes sense to make it easy and painless for the people who register," said Easter.

Another break for short-term rental owners, the city is putting a moratorium on any fines that would otherwise be given to unregistered properties. It's expected to last until the city comes up with a clear way to enforce the ordinance.

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