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City issuing fines to some short-term rental owners and sending them to court

Posted at 9:04 PM, Apr 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-28 22:18:18-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Tanya Land’s house might just look like a typical house on the outside, but in reality, it’s her single-family short-term rental business.

She said her small business has been "a real blessing.”

She said she loves sharing her house in Flour Bluff with people who are traveling and has done so for over three years.

However, the City of Corpus Christi issued her a ticket and a notice to appear in court earlier this month, for not registering her STR and for illegal land use.

“Literally, I have no business. My livelihood is completely shut down. I have no income at all,” she said.

Land added that now she’s having to cancel on visitors and people planning vacations who are no longer able to come. She said it’s unfair that people who own multi-family STRs are allowed to run their business, but she can’t.

“Make it work, it can work, it’s working all over the world,” she implored the City of Corpus Christi.

Dominick Rouchka also owns a single-family STR in Flour Bluff and said that’s how he makes ends meet.

However, Rouchka also got a ticket for violating the zoning of a short-term rental.

He said four days later he got a violation for not being registered and a fine of $576.

One week after, he got a notice saying he needs to appear in court. He said he would also be fined $2,000 a day if he keeps his business running.

When he called the City of Corpus Christi to register his STR, he said they told him he couldn’t because he’s in a zone that doesn’t allow single-family STRs.

“It’s a war on homeownership and this isn’t (...) I don’t have a bunch of houses. I'm not a big businessman. I have one house. This is it,” Rouchka said.

Now, Rouchka is left without a business and said short-term rentals are allowed just one street over, leaving him confused.

“If I can’t afford this, I have to sell my house and I love this house,” he said.

Dan McGinn, the director of planning for the City of Corpus Christi said the difference between people being allowed to run multi-family STRs and single-family STRs is the zoning.

“Single-family zoning districts has a provision that does not allow for any leases less than thirty days, and all of our multi-family or commercial zoning districts, they don’t have that provision,” McGinn said.

He said single-family short-term rentals were never allowed to begin with, but residents like Land and Rouchka just got their tickets after running for years.

Code enforcement has been issuing citations for years, but they were complaint-based.

Keith Stasney and Moni Kaur were also issued tickets, but they got two for the same short-term rental, one in Stasney’s name and one in Kaur’s.

They just bought their home in February and started renting it out as a single-family STR in March.

About a week later, they got those two tickets.

“There hasn’t been much communication at all from the city, like a lot of people that’s what we’ve seen from the group of short-term rental owners, is that it was all kind of a surprise,” Stasney said.

He said if they were allowed to run their short-term rental, it could bring in more tourists to the area.

“They’re basically using city taxpayer time and money to block activity that brings more revenue into the city,” he added.

For now, this is their message to the City of Corpus Christi.

“Give everyone fair, equal rights,” Kaur said.

City Councilman of District 4 Greg Smith, who is in charge of the Flour Bluff area, said the City of Corpus Christi is working on an ordinance that could allow single-family short-term rentals in a single-family zone.