The City of College Station revises short-term rental ordinance

KBTX News 3 at Ten(Recurring)
Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 10:56 PM CST
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) -The City of College Station revised its short-term rental ordinance during a council meeting last month.

A short-term rental is a residential unit that is rented out for fewer than 30 consecutive days. It includes single-family homes, duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, multi-family units, and manufactured homes.

The change comes after an appeals court sided with a Louisiana homeowner saying the law violated their property rights.

The 5th Circuit United States Court of Appeals’ opinion stated that limiting short-term rental operations based on the location of the owner or property was a violation of interstate commerce.

After that ruling, cities across the country examined their ordinances, including the City of College Station. In December, the city attorney and staff recommended that the council remove the previous restrictions from the ordinance, and allow short-term rentals to operate as long as they meet the permit requirements.

City staff says the original ordinance was drafted in 2020 with the purpose to safeguard the life, health, safety, and welfare of visitors. The goal was to also protect residential dwellings, the neighbors, and the general public through registration and regulation of short-term rentals and to ensure the collection and payment of hotel occupancy taxes.

Local real estate professionals call the change a victory for property rights.

Megan Bock is just one of many in the real estate industry applauding the city of College Station for its proactiveness and for revising the ordinance.

“I feel like this will be a win for the City of College Station,” says Bock. “It’s been a point of conversation for a long time of homeowners or buyers in the area, can I buy in College Station, can I use this as a short-term rental? To have that reversal allows so many more options for buyers and for homeowners.”

City leaders say hotels and motels previously expressed concern that residential homes were being used and not paying hotel occupancy taxes causing what they say is an unfair advantage. City leaders say those concerns are addressed in the revised ordinance.

“There is a registration process so that they can get signed up to pay hotel occupancy taxes and then there’s an inspection process that we go through to make sure that the property meets the appropriate health and safety standards,” says City of College Station Director of Community Services Debbie Eller.

Shane Vinsant co-manages EV Assets with his business partner Jeremy Efferding. They manage several short-term rentals in the community and say the ordinance as written strikes a good balance for homeowners, investors, and renters.

“I think it was very limited before,” said Vinsant.” There were only certain areas and you had to be in Bryan. I think there’s so much growth going on in Bryan and College Station and there is so much happening with the university that there are so many great homes that people will want to Airbnb here.”

For more information on short-term rental housing in College Station, click here.