Chapter 13 of the City’s Local Amendments to the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC), defines a Rooming/Boarding House as a building that is not a hotel, motel, bed & breakfast or short-term rental that provides lodging (with or without meals) for 7 or more unrelated individuals.  A license is required to operate a rooming or boarding house in Commercial or Residential properties. 

Most rooming or boarding houses have historically been located in areas zoned multi-family residential. Except for properties located within the McMansion area, occupancy in most single-family residential properties is limited to 6 unrelated individuals (See City Code Section 25-2-511). If the property is located within the McMansion area, the limit is 4 unrelated individuals.

By definition, a rooming/boarding house cannot be located in a residential area that is subject to Section 25-2-511. Houses located in residential zoned areas with 7 or more unrelated individuals are operating in violation of City Code. As of April 1, 2017, property owners are required to obtain an annual operating license from the Austin Code Department.

REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS 

In order to allow a Rooming or Boarding House to operate on residential properties, Council passed Resolution No. 20130808-049, which directed the City Manager to evaluate existing reasonable accommodations processes.  After evaluating existing processes, Council adopted an ordinance that created a reasonable accommodations process (See Ordinance No. 20160204-046).  The reasonable accommodation process allows for a person with a disability or someone representing a person with a disability to request a reasonable accommodation verbally or in writing to any City of Austin employee, however, the single point of contact is the City of Austin Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Office. You may reach the ADA office at 512-974-3256 or at ADA@austintexas.gov.

An accommodation is a change, exception, or adjustment to a City requirement (City Code provision, uncodified ordinance, rule, policy, or procedure). Examples of accommodations include: increased impervious cover to extend the length of a driveway; extending the deadline to respond to comments during the permitting process. An accommodation is reasonable when it provides an individual with a disability with an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling. In this case, the accommodation will be to allow 7 or more unrelated individuals to live in the same establishment.

To request a reasonable accommodation, click here.

PUBLIC EDUCATION MATERIALS

TO APPLY FOR/RENEW AN OPERATING LICENSE

The Austin Code Department requires an annual application, fee, inspection of property and a certificate of occupancy, prior to issuance of an operating license.

1.     Download Application (Click Here)

  • Fees:
    • Initial and Annual Renewal fee per property $380
    • Plus $25/per unit (room)
    • Fees are subject to change, per City Council
  • An invoice will be mailed to you after submitting application

2.     Application for Reasonable Accommodation (if applicable)

3.     Inspection of Property

  • An inspection is required prior to obtaining an annual operating license
  • To make an appointment with a Code Inspector, call 3-1-1

4.     Certificate of Occupancy

  • A Certificate of Occupancy is required to obtain an annual operating license
  • To obtain your Certificate of Occupancy please call the Development Services Department at 512-978-4000

5.     Applications and fees may be submitted

  • By Mail:  City of Austin – Austin Code Department, Attn: Finance, PO Box 1088, Austin, TX 78767.

6.     If you have any questions, please call the Licensing & Registration Office at 512-974-9144.