Rural counties and AirBnB

It’s working well for them.

Texans running Airbnb rentals in rural counties earned $20.6 million in supplemental income in the last 12 months with 169,000 guests, according to a new report from the hospitality company.

These results represent a growth rate double that of urban counties, the report added, citing a trend of more guests wanting to visit more than just Texas’ big cities.

The company said that while the Texas hotel industry is booming, most of this growth is concentrated in the four major metro areas, making Airbnb sometimes the only lodging option outside of these cities and suburbs.

You can see a copy of that report here. As CultureMap Austin notes, some of the biggest beneficiaries are counties in the Hill Country, which makes sense. I’m happy for these rural counties, but none of this changes my mind about the need for cities to be able to regulate AirBnB locally. AirBnB my be having a significant and mostly positive effect in some parts of the state, but it will have an even bigger impact of a more-unknown effect on those cities. At the very least, let’s not pre-emptively foreclose on any tools that cities will need to manage their own interests.

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3 Responses to Rural counties and AirBnB

  1. Bill Daniels says:


    You support cities’ rights to regulate, I get that, and don’t necessarily disagree with that. Having said that, most of the land in rural counties is outside the city limits. So questions….do you also support counties enacting their own rules to regulate, and do you want to see city or county regulation happen even if there are no negative issues that come up?

    Say I live in rural Texas and want to rent out my guest house. Using Air BNB as the booker means there will be a paper trail for tax purposes, so I don’t fail to report business income or collect and remit sales tax. Beyond that, does there really need to be county regulation to force me to do whatever? A minimum number of towels? Handicapped accessibility? Fire extinguisher? Minimum number of eggs to be served to each guest at breakfast?

    Personally, I’d prefer to see less regulation vs. more, but am interested in your take, particularly about county regulation.

  2. Ross says:

    @Bill, regardless of location, if you rent out your property for short periods through AirBnB or another app, you are essentially providing hotel services, and should be subject to the same regulations as any hotel(or motel). That means accessibility compliance, life safety compliance, etc. Keep in mind that there are a number of State laws that regulate renting property for longer terms.

  3. Bill Daniels says:


    What I am asking is, if the county, state and federal requirements already in place don’t meet the same requirements as local cities in that county, are we expecting counties to up the regulation to meet the city regulations?

    I’m reminded of the payday lender discussion we had a while back, the dichotomy between city and county fireworks regulation, and, more recently, the sex robot dustup (never thought I’d be writing THAT phrase, LOL.)

    And as personal, anecdotal info, I have rented hill country B&B’s (not from AirBnB by the way) that I am pretty sure didn’t have handicapped ramps, oversized bathroom doors, etc. Should we go to those individual owners and attack them legally for their non compliance? What if they are simply renting out a room, short term, in their own house, vs. a guest house?

    When it all comes down to brass tacks, do you want to use government regulation to force people out of using their property to make supplemental income for their families?

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