Natasha Bakunda sits with her dog on the front port of her home in Dignowity HIll.
Natasha Bakunda and her dog sit on the front porch of her home in Dignowity Hill. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

I really should be studying and investing in my future. But instead I am sitting here writing about the daylight robbers at City Hall.

I recently read the proposed short-term rental ordinance, and I found the contents horrifying. I’ll tell you why, but first, a little about me.

I came to San Antonio little more than five years ago. I rented my first year and hated it. I worked night shifts at the time and I always seemed to get an apartment beneath men in steel boots who spent all day stomping around and dropping things. Having a home was a dream; in fact, having a home was the only way I could dream.

I eventually bought a small house in Dignowity Hill for $60,000. It was poorly rehabbed and dated, but it was mine. I cried when I hung up my first picture. The satisfaction of never having to answer to anyone about the state of my walls was overwhelming.

My mortgage principal and interest were around $300 a month. But my taxes went up every year – doubling, then tripling. I didn’t care – I made enough as a registered nurse. But then I started graduate school at one of the most demanding programs in the state. I cut my work hours precipitously and began to rent out my spare room on Airbnb.

Airbnb kept my family out of debt and allowed to me to maintain a 4.0 GPA at school, which garnered me scholarships that helped me further my studies. It’s not easy, but I am working hard and trying to succeed.

The Airbnb room available in Natasha Bakunda's Dignowity Hill home.
Natasha Bakunda rents out a room in her Dignowity Hill home on Airbnb. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

This ordinance threatens to upend all that. I already pay exorbitant taxes and adding a permit and a plethora of inspections would cut into the income I am getting from my short-term rental. I need to live here. Airbnb works because that income helps with the bills by leveraging my assets in a way that is more flexible for me without taking on a full-time tenant.

It is wrong, dare I say egregiously wrong, to expect me to pay ever-rising taxes as well as permits for a part-time, owner-occupied rental in my own home. I cannot support this ordinance and will do everything in my power as resident of this city to oppose it.

I’d rather the City divert its resources to fixing roads. For as long a I have lived on Lamar Street, I have never actually gone down my own road – because it’s in a terrible state. It’s full of potholes and even sinkholes. Driver run the risk of ruining their suspension or drowning in the puddle near Alamo Brewery.

Again, I should be studying and investing in my future; instead I am fighting an ordinance that has none of my interests at heart. This ordinance, if passed, is nothing short of a travesty. We must oppose it, one and all.

It’s my house, I’ll be damned if I allow anyone to dictate how I leverage it towards my future.

Natasha Bakunda

Natasha Bakunda is a registered nurse and graduate student pursing a Masters Degree in Nursing. She is a 30-something homeowner in the rapidly-gentrifying neighborhood of Dignowity Hill. She is also the...