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When deciding whether to become an Airbnb host, it is important for you to understand the laws in your city. As a platform and marketplace we do not provide legal advice, but we want to give you some useful links that may help you better understand laws and regulations in Houston. This list is not exhaustive, but it should give you a good start in understanding your local laws. If you have questions, contact the City’s Planning and Development Department directly, or consult a local lawyer or tax professional.
- The Hotel and Motel Ordinance. The Hotel and Motel Ordinance, found at Section 28-201 to 28-210 of the Houston Code of Ordinances, regulates short-term rentals in Houston. Important terms include bed and breakfast facility; the Central business district; hotel; residence; and residential. You should review this ordinance to see if your listing is consistent with its requirements, and to see what permits, if any, you might need to operate a listing.
- Building and Housing Standards. Houston enforces rules and regulations specifying minimum construction, design, and maintenance standards for buildings, including regulations on habitability, health, and safety. Certain rules and regulations applicable to residential and non-residential uses may be relevant to your listing. Please contact the City’s Customer Assistance & Code Development Office or the Code Enforcement Division.
- Hotel Occupancy Tax. Houston, Harris County, and the State of Texas may assess hotel occupancy taxes on hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, condominiums, apartments and houses, and other short-term rentals. A "short-term rental" is defined as a guest stay of less than 30 days. Additional information on the hotel occupancy tax is available on the City's FAQ page, County's FAQ page, and the State's FAQ page.
- Other Rules. It's also important to understand and abide by other contracts or rules that bind you, such as leases, condo board or co-op rules, HOA rules, or rules established by tenant organizations. Please read your lease agreement and check with your landlord if applicable.
We are committed to working with local officials to help them understand how Airbnb benefits our community. Where needed, we will continue to advocate for changes that will allow regular people to rent out their own homes.
Last updated: January 26, 2015