Ethics complaint filed against Council Member 'Pio' Renteria

Last month the Austin City Council voted in favor of phasing out Type-2 Short Term Rentals in the city by 2022. 

Type-2 means the owner doesn't live on the property, it's basically a commercial unit in a residential neighborhood operated as a mini-hotel. A Type-1 Short Term Rental is owner occupied.

The idea of the ban came about after complaints of loud parties at some Type-2's.
Thomas Clark, the CEO and Co-founder of Austin's Turnkey Vacation Rentals calls the City Council's decision highly restrictive.

"Less than a dozen problem homes that could have been shut down on a case-by-case basis to deal with the worst of those issues and instead the council found it more appropriate to do what we feel is completely overboard to ban outright Type-2 rentals," Clark said.

Clark has filed an Ethics Complaint against Council Member Pio Renteria because he says the council member operated an STR Type-1 and didn't abstain from voting on the STR issue.

"What we believe is that the right ethical thing to do here would have been for Council Member Renteria to sit out for participating in any discussions with other council members regarding restricting Short Term Rentals for types that were not his," Clark said.

Clark is also claiming in past years, Renteria operated the property without having a proper license.

"It looks like he was an active renter beginning in 2012 and we couldn't find a license that he had obtained for that period prior -- from 2012 to 2014," Clark said.

Council Member Renteria, who has disclosed his STR ownership in the past , declined to comment on camera.

Staff member Nick Solorzano told FOX 7 the council member paid for the taxes and STR license in 2014 and part of 2015.  Solorzano says anything before that, he doesn't have information on.  But in April 2015, Renteria let the license expire...long before the recent STR ruling. So Renteria is saying there is no conflict of interest.

Solorzano says Renteria only rented the place out for SXSW and ACL and it wasn't a money-making venture -- but only to pay for the rising property taxes in East Austin.

"What we're requesting is the City Council should vacate its prior votes and start over with a clean and unbiased panel," Clark said.

Council Member Renteria is expected to appear before the Ethics panel on April 13th. 

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