"A ruler who lacks understanding is a great oppressor,
But he who hates covetousness will prolong his days."
Fantastic Statesman op-ed this morning from TPPF about council's anti-AirBNB ordinance:
Already, Uber and Lyft have been driven out of town thanks to municipal micromanagement and ballot language chicanery. Now, the short-term rental industry, which includes companies like HomeAway, Airbnb, and VRBO, also finds itself under assault from an overzealous city council hellbent on regulating every aspect of daily life.
Central in this skirmish is Austin’s new ordinance governing short-term rentals, or STRs. The ordinance, which was approved in February by an overwhelming majority of the Austin City Council by a 9-2 vote, is a near-perfect example of the nanny state run amok.
Read the whole thing here.....But as intrusive and inappropriate as these regulations are, it’s the city’s new enforcement powers that are truly unsettling.
To make sure that people are abiding by all of its new rules, Austin has given its code officials the ability to conduct warrantless searches, at all reasonable times, of “all buildings, dwelling units, guest rooms and premises” in search of possible code violations. And since some of the restrictions don’t go into effect until after 10 p.m., officials could well show up in the dead of night to search every nook and cranny of an STR looking for any sign of bad behavior — all without a warrant.
Giving city officials the power to search residential properties without a warrant is not just unwise; it’s downright un-American.
Americans have certain fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. and Texas Constitutions. These are not forfeit simply because a person stays as a guest at a short-term rental. Nor are they surrendered because a person legally owns and operates a certain kind of investment property. Austin’s ordinance runs so far afoul of these basic tenets of American society that it deserves nothing short of total repeal.
And that’s where we step in.