Short Term Rental Update | Coastal Breeze News

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On May 17, city staff will present an update on short-term rentals to City Council.

Throughout my campaign, I pledged that I would support the right of landlords living in a single family residential area (RSF) to use their properties for short term rentals. I still support this right and do not want to create an ordinance banning short-term rentals in RSF areas. Frankly, it would be against Florida law to do so at this time.

Likewise, I support the right of condominium associations to establish stricter rules regarding short-term rentals because the law allows them to do so.

For the past 10 years, I have lived in both a condominium (San Marco Villas) and a house in an RSF area on Marco Island. My wife and I understand that each offers different advantages and disadvantages, freedoms and restrictions. Each also offers a different experience in terms of potential exposure to problem tenants.

If you live in a condo on Marco Island, there are controls that take away some of your personal freedom in exchange for added protection from problem tenants. Many residents choose to give up some of their personal freedom for the safety and additional protections inherent in the tenancy regulations of condominium associations. These range from frequency and length of rental to occupancy limits. I have identified twelve points which can be found in my full letter to coastbreezenews.com.

If you live in a private house in an RSF area, the controls are looser and add to your personal freedom to do whatever you want with your property in terms of rental. Many residents choose to forgo some of the protections and controls offered by condominium living for the greater freedom of living in a single family home. These range from no control over the frequency and duration of rentals to no occupancy limits. Again, I have identified twelve points which can be found in my full letter online at coastbreezenews.com.

Over the past year, increased attention has been paid to problem tenants and so-called “party houses”. I will not dwell on the problems that certain tenants have created in the RSF zone. Many residents voiced their complaints at city council meetings and on social media.

I take these complaints seriously and await the six-month follow-up of the recently revised noise ordinance to make a public statement regarding problem tenants. What can and cannot be done to deal with problem tenants?

What cannot be done

The City of Marco Island cannot apply the same standards for condominiums to homes in the RSF area. Condominiums are allowed to establish strict rules and regulations regarding rental accommodation. The City cannot do this in the RSF zone. In 2011, the Florida legislature banned cities from regulating short-term vacation rentals. The law specifically states that a municipality cannot regulate the frequency or duration of vacation rentals. This means that the city of Marco Island cannot tell landlords how often (frequency) or for how long (duration) they can rent their homes, if in fact the city wanted to.

What can be done

The City of Marco Island can use several strategies to deal with the issues associated with short-term tenants. Collectively, these strategies represent a powerful tool that can help the city manage short-term rentals more effectively. However, these strategies violate many personal freedoms dear to the inhabitants of the RSF zone. The strategies range from a registration requirement to a parking order. More details can be found on the Coastal Breeze News website: coastalbreezenews.com.

Equal treatment under the law

State law states that the implementation of any new code related to rental units in the RSF zone should apply equally to non-rental units. In other words, all residents should be treated equally. If the City passed new ordinances limiting occupancy or vehicles, they would apply to all residents as well.

These are not easy decisions to make. Residents, city council and city manager should think long and hard about the implications of these decisions before taking any action that could have unintended consequences that would decrease the quality of life for all residents.




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