The South Padre Island City Council approved a new ordinance which regulates short-term rental properties. A part of the Hotel Occupancy Tax, the proposed ordinance for “Short Term Rentals” was discussed as revisions had been made to the previously proposed document, including waiving the $50 registration fee.
The Council felt it was unfair to charge a fee to pay their taxes, especially when they had already been compliant. The purpose of the ordinance is to create regulations for short-term rental properties, including property registration, so that the City can encourage and enforce compliance in the payment and remittance of the HOT as well as other benefits such as the reduction of scamming.
Some property owners and managers felt that they were being punished because the ordinance would create additional requirements for them, however, City Attorney, Paul Cunningham argued that this would help to create a level playing field in rental rates so that someone who is not paying taxes cannot undercut a person who is. He also noted that the registration is important because enforcement of payment of taxes or lack thereof is a difficult and time-consuming thing to prove, whereas if a property is not registered, the owner can easily be penalized for that. Rather than crack down on individuals, the City’s goal is to encourage and assist with compliance. Non-compliant individuals can be charged up to $500 dollars a day per offense.
Article provided in part by Port Isabel Press.