Chapter 13 of the City’s Local Amendments to the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC), defines a Boarding House as a building that is not a hotel, motel, bed & breakfast or short-term rental that provides lodging (with meals) for 16 or more unrelated individuals.  A license is required to operate a boarding house in Commercial or Residential properties.

Boarding houses located within the Austin city limits with 16 or more adults that provide food for compensation need to obtain an annual operating license from DSD Code Compliance.


In order to allow a 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

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 and 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. 

Request a reasonable accommodation



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

1.     Download the Application (PDF 668KB)

  • Fees:
    • Initial and Annual Renewal fee per property $327
    • Plus $15/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.     Applications and fees may be submitted

  • By Mail: City of Austin – DSD Code Compliance, Attn: Finance, PO Box 1088, Austin, TX 78767
  • In Person: 6310 Wilhelmina Delco Drive, Austin, TX 78752
  • By Phone: 512-974-9142

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