We are pleased to report that the City of South Padre Island has passed a new ordinance that requires the registration of all short term rental properties on South Padre Island. Our broker, Eleana Jones, was a member of the Hotel Occupancy Tax Task Force that developed this new ordinance and was active in moving this ordinance forward because we believe that this ordinance is great for the island, great for rental property owners and great for rental guests visiting our island.
The ordinance requires that the registration number be posted on all advertising. This will bring creditability in the vacation rental marketplace for properties on South Padre Island. The Island has seen a large volume lately of fraudulent listings that are “scraped” or extracted electronically from legitimate websites such as ours or the MLS sales listings. Guests show up on the island only to find out that they paid for a rental that does not exist or is invalid which gives our island a bad reputation. Guests can now have a way to identify vacation rental properties that are reputable and in good standing with the City. Once it is assigned, the registration number stays with your property even through transfer.
- The ordinance requires a 24/7 contact number for a representative within one hour response time for all short term rentals. This will assist City authorities in enforcing our quality of life ordinances: noise, disturbance and fire code occupancy, by holding the rental owner or their rental agent accountable for the actions of their rental guests. This will also contribute to the enforcement of the quality of life rules that so many building HOA’s have enacted. Perhaps this will reduce the number of buildings that are turning toward extreme measures of severe rental restrictions.
- The ordinance provides the City with a means to enforce the collection and remittance of hotel occupancy tax (HOT) by requiring that all short term rental properties be registered with the City and file HOT tax reports. Property owners who are renting their properties at a lower total price by not collecting hotel tax will no longer have an illegal competitive advantage (14.5% discount) over property owners obeying the law. And of course, compliance will add to our tax base providing additional funds for promotion of our island.
- If you are represented by a vacation rental management company or agent, they should register your property for you, requiring no action by you. But you must check to make sure because you as the property owner are liable for any penalties from failure to register. At Padre Getaways, we take care of this for all of our property owner clients.
More information and registration forms are available online at <http://myspi.org/hottax>. The final compliance date is July 1st 2015. For questions you may call Customer Service: (956) 761-8382 or Email: HotTax@SoPadre.com<mailto:HotTax@SoPadre.com>