Port Aransas (KIII News) — Did you know operating an Airbnb or a short-term rental in Corpus Christi actually violates City code?

It's true, but a quick search online shows hundreds of those types of rentals are available.

It's hard to stifle all the entrepreneurs out there, but the City is struggling to find a way to regulate short-term rentals. The City of Port Aransas, however, has already come up with a way to do just that without losing any hotel tax revenue.

In a popular tourist town like Port Aransas, it is no surprise that most of the properties are made up mostly of short-term rentals -- homes or condos that are rented out for less than 30 days. A search on Airbnb turns up over 1,000 such properties that are available, but the number registered with the City is actually well over 3,000.

"We saw our short-term rentals increase exponentially in the number of people, tourists and guest," Planning and Development Director Rick Adams said. "We really felt taking a page from a few other cities, not only in the state but across the country, do a better job at managing that summer chaos."

Adams said to deal with any safety issues like overcrowding, he wrote up an ordinance intended to make it clear to visitors and owners of the properties what was expected on their part.

"We wanted to know who owned the property and also required a 24/7 contact number that could respond within one hour of any issue, be it a noise complaint, parking complaint, excessive light, whatever it was," Adams said.

Adams said a registration number is also required for each short-term rental -- something that helps make sure those properties are paying the hotel/motel tax and also helps with preventing rental scams.

"The registration helps find those folks who have been under the radar that weren't registering their properties as they needed too, to make sure everyone was on the same playing field," Adams said.

While Adams says well over 85-percent of the city is zoned to allow short-term rentals, there is a small portion where they are prohibited.

Jackie Johnson lives off Channel Vista, one of the areas where short-term rentals aren't allowed.

"It's great for the people who have properties that want to rent it, but I'm so glad we don't have it here," Johnson said. "A lot of party houses."

For those who don't follow the rules and regulations, Adams says there can be significant penalties including the risk of being denied the ability of renting out your property.

It is unclear when Corpus Christi City Council members will take a look at any changes to their code regarding short-term rentals.

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