COLLEGE STATION The majority of Bryan-College Station hotels are already booked for Texas A&M football home game weekends. Many local residents are deciding to take advantage of the situation, renting out their homes for those weekends. The controversy concerns a College Station city ordinance that says homeowners have to operate their home as a bed and breakfast to be able to rent it out on weekends. Now, at least one woman has no plans to abide by the rules.
"This is not going to be here for rental," said Leslie Donovan, a College Station homeowner. "All of this is going to go," Donovan said as she cleaned out her house. She's getting ready to open her home to Aggie fans, but for a price.
"It would mean the difference between being able to stay in this house versus losing it," Donovan said.
The College Station homeowner lives on a tight budget. The single mom says she has no other choice but to rent her house for game days in Aggieland. "This money will be my income for the fall semester," Donovan said.
She isn't alone. Hundreds of homes are up for rent on nearly half a dozen websites. The problem is, a College Station ordinance does not allow homeowners to rent their houses out, except if they register with the city as a bed in breakfast. Donovan said she's not going to do that.
"I am frustrated and disappointed," Donovan said. "I don't have the time or the energy to do that. The whole idea about game day rental is you are their hotel, their place to stay." She said she is willing to be fined and wants the city to change the rules.
"Maybe the ordinance can be re-written to address game day rentals," Donovan said.
Bob Cowell with College Station planning and development says the city is looking into making some changes with the ordinance.
"The best way to deal with this is to get the facts out about what the ordinances are right now, Cowell said. "Let people make their own decisions at that point and decide whether or not the council wants to move in a different direction with it."
He suggested homeowners look at their homeowners association rules to avoid any additional fines. Cowell also said the city will not actively enforce the rule, except to keep the noise down and keep parking safe on the streets; giving Leslie the extra income she needs to live her everyday life.