By Brian Piscacek, Assistant to the City Manager
In College Station, nothing matches the excitement of the arrival of football season. Especially after all we’ve been through in 2020.
If you rent your home or other property for Aggie game day weekends — or for any other reason — you want to do it the right way. Starting this year, that means registering your short-term rental with the City of College Station. The ordinance goes into effect on Oct. 1.
A short-term rental is a residential unit that’s rented out for fewer than 30 consecutive days. It includes single-family homes, duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, multifamily units, and manufactured homes.
If you are a short-term rental operator, you must have a valid permit and collect and remit hotel occupancy taxes monthly. The permit is valid for one year from the date of issuance and must be renewed each year. The permit is $100, and the required inspection is an additional $100. The annual renewal is $75.
In addition to the permit and hotel taxes, the ordinance requires STR operators to:
- Provide an informational brochure to guests that includes pertinent neighborhood information, how to contact the operator, and local emergency numbers.
- Equip the dwelling with working life safety equipment such as smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors if using gas/propane, and one fire extinguisher per floor.
- Maintain the unit in compliance with applicable city codes.
How to Apply for a Permit
Request access to the online permitting system by emailing STR@cstx.gov with your name, permanent (i.e., your homestead property) address, email address, and phone number. You must receive a login and password before applying online.
Know your STR type. The ordinance permits three categories of STRs related to zoning. To identify your zoning, go to the city’s interactive map, click the layer icon on the upper right, then select “Zoning” from the options.
- Short-Term Rental I is a bed and breakfast facility located in a residential zoning district. They have specific rules that align with our Unified Development Ordinance for B&B properties, including requirements that the unit is the proprietor’s permanent residence, no more than four unrelated may occupy overnight, and no more than one meal is served daily. If your STR is not a bed and breakfast, you are not an STR I.
- Short-Term Rental II is an owner-occupied unit in a residential zoning district of either General Suburban (GS), Restricted Suburban (RS), or Wellborn Restricted Suburban (WRS). These are located in what you think of as a typical single-family neighborhood. Are you in one of these zoning districts? Do you owner-occupy the residence? If so, this is your category. If the unit you’re operating as a short-term rental is an accessory dwelling on the property — such as a mother-in-law suite or a garage apartment — you’re required to be on-site during the rental.
- Short-Term Rental III is a short-term rental in a residential zoning district other than General Suburban, Restricted Suburban, or Wellborn Restricted Suburban. It includes Rural (R), Estate (E), Wellborn Estate (WE), Townhouse (T), Duplex (D), Multifamily (MF), Mixed-Use (MU), and Manufactured Home (MHP). These units may be owner-occupied or non-owner-occupied.
Non-Owner Occupied STRs: If you’ve been operating the unit as an STR but don’t live there, the ordinance includes a grandfathering provision, and you may apply for a permit until Nov. 27. After that, no application for non-owner-occupied units in GS, RS, or WRS zoning will be considered. You must demonstrate that the unit has been used as a short-term rental by providing evidence that you’ve remitted hotel occupancy taxes.
To illustrate continuous use, proof of tax remittance must cover a period of at least six of the last 12 — or 12 of the last 24 — months immediately preceding October. If you have not remitted those taxes, you may do so through Avenu Insights with the applicable penalties for late filings. Please include evidence of your filings and payments when you apply for the STR permit.
Planned Development Districts: If your property is located in a Planned Development District (PDD), refer to the base zoning. Plans submitted with at PDD designation include a list of land uses that align with zoning districts. For assistance, contact Planning & Development Services at 979-764-3570.
When notified, schedule your Life Safety Inspection to ensure your STR meets the ordinance’s life safety requirements. For most STRs, inspections are also required for renewal.
Receive your permit when your application is approved. Please include your permit number in your advertisements and internet booking sites.
Register with Avenu Insights to set up your hotel occupancy tax remittance and report filing. The ordinance requires that Hotel Occupancy Taxes be assessed and collected by short-term rental operators. The Code of Ordinances authorizes a hotel occupancy tax equal to 7% of the occupant’s consideration where the cost of occupancy is at least $2 per day.
On the last business day of the month after the month of collection, entities required to collect the tax must file a report and remit the appropriate amount. Failure to submit the report and remit payment is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine and a penalty of 15% of the tax due for every 30 days that the report isn’t filed or the payment isn’t made.
For more information on hotel occupancy taxes, go to our STR webpage.
If you have additional questions about short-term rentals, contact Code Enforcement at 979-764-6363 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Blogger
Brian Piscacek has been with the City of College Station since 2012 and has served as assistant to the city manager for special projects since early 2019. He was previously a community development analyst. Before coming to College Station, Brian worked for Texas Tech and the North & East Lubbock Community Development Corporation. He earned bachelor’s (2007, Political Science/History) and master’s (2009, Public Administration) degrees from Tech.
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