OPINION: Fight for your right to have short term rentals in Corpus Christi

On Tuesday, January 11, 2022, The City Council of Corpus Christi will be voting to allow Short Term Rentals in Corpus Christi. Short Term Rentals in Corpus Christi are nothing new; people have been renting houses here and in other beach communities in Texas for several years. After Covid hit and many lost their jobs, this was the only way they could make their lives continue. Why would the city want to attack private property owners this way? The increased tax revenue is better for our city as it can be applied to projects to better Corpus Christi. Many people forget that tourism definitely helps support local small business owners as they rely on tourism to keep their doors open. It is very odd that this is a new topic! This should be a concern for every property owner in Corpus Christi because we work hard to own our property. This has been more specifically a hot topic for the Island Neighborhood.

In 2019, in the case of Zaatari v. City of Austin, the City of Austin tried to prevent Short Term Rentals, property owners challenged the City of Austin with the help of Ken Paxton (Texas Attorney General) and the State of Texas. The City of Austin claimed that it was a matter of public safety concerns for the prevention, but they had no data to support their unsubstantiated claim. The Third Court of Appeals found that the zoning preventing Short Term Rentals was a violation of Freedom of Assembly, which is guaranteed by Section 27 of the Texas Constitution and also the 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution. Not only that, but it also amounts to uncompensated taking of private property by a government entity. The regulation and prevention also lead to Unconstitutional Search and Seizure, another Constitutional violation. Does the City want to spend our funds fighting Constitutional Court battles or Compensate Property Owners for their unlawful taking of private property?

In 2018, in the case of Tarr v. Timberwood Park Owners Association, The Supreme Court of Texas held that restrictions stating that “properties used solely for residential purposes” was not appropriate to ban Short Term Renting since the use was for residential purpose; no different than those living there continuously. Short Term Rentals do not change the nomenclature of the property since it is still being utilized as someone living there as a single-family residence.

Concerns from homeowners include increased crime, no background checks on renters, noise, vehicle parking obstruction, and decline of property value. All of these points made are moot andhave no standing; below I will address the issues.

In focusing on the Island Neighborhood and increased crime, during peak tourism time throughout the summer, crimes (including simple traffic violations) over 80% were because of residents, not tourists! It seems very easy for some to cast stones without actually looking at the hard data of the matter and it surely is not tourists driving by my house at over 60 mph every dayof the week the whole year or shooting guns in the street; this is quite unsubstantiated.

No background checks on renters, hotels, motels, and condos do not require this, so why place anundue burden on others? More specifically, I have heard the concern of sexual predators. If you do a simple search on the Family Watchdog website, you will see a map of all the sexual predators who live near you, it seems like a point that people just throw out to help win their sideof the argument but fail to realize the facts of where they live. Are you now not going to be allowed to have whomever (family members or friends) you wish at Your property? People fail to realize that throughout the City and the Island, hotels, motels, and condos are well within walking distance from residential homes.

The noise issue also holds no ground along with the multiple cars and parking obstruction. On the Island, on any given night, you can sit outside and hear a loudly obnoxious party from a neighbor who lives there! It is worse with the parking as there are several residents who have boats in their driveways and more than a few cars that they need to park in the street continuously; this becomes much worse when their friends or extended families continuously come in every week, but people again have no issues if You are the property owner. I have yet tosee a rental house that has as many vehicles parked along the street as I have seen homeowners do this.

In regard, to property value decreasing, this is incredibly false! You can do a simple search of “short term rentals and property value” and find the correct information on several financial sitesthat disprove this “opinion”. This is yet another un-factual claim by those who simply do not likethe idea. After speaking with several Island business owners, they surely rely on tourism to succeed. Not only does it help the owners, but those employed by them. After Covid hit hard the last two years, people are trying to rebuild their lives and are needing the income; why would the city want to hurt the smaller people who have struggled so much during the Pandemic Crisis?

I would love to see a great turnout of people on Tuesday, January 11 at 11:00 am at City Hall to let their voices be heard about your rights as a property owner and that you will not allow them to violate your guaranteed Constitutional rights. Who knows where this will end if they prevent Freedom of Assembly? No barbeques, Quinceañeras, Birthday parties, or Christmases may not be permitted on your property in the future. I cannot believe anyone would think that it is ok to Violate the Constitution and try to run our great city with Gestapo rules.