THIS WEEK WE RECEIVED THIS READER COMMENT TO OUR ARTICLE ON INDIAN RIVER COUNTY SHORT TERM RENTALS:
“Mr. Thomas Hardy has provided some very valuable information to the citizens of Indian River County. His detailed summary of the County regulations in Monroe Co. Fla regarding controlling activities of short-term “transient vacation house” rentals should be seen as a guidepost for IRC’s County Commission (and their newly appointed Short Term Rental Advisory Committee, headed by Glenn Powell).
All of these regulations make sense, and help keep the balance between transients enjoying our beautiful county, and disruptive elements that take advantage and destroy the tranquility and peaceful use of residential property.
As pointed out in the letters sent to various public officials (copies provided in Dr. Conway’s input), transient vacation rentals can be very disruptive— if not properly regulated and controlled.
The idea of having a full time property manager posted at each location, who is available 24/7 to address problems w/ code enforcement and/or police, is a wonderful idea; as is requiring the manager to keep a list of occupants names and addresses for 3 months; and of course, matching that guest list to occupancy limits on units rented. That will help address the excess parking issues that arise when 12 people occupy a 3 BR house, sleeping on living room sofas and cots in the kitchen.
Other code ord. provisions should include safety railing for disabled, checks that balcony is structurally sound, all utilities and esp. electric wiring are up to code, smoke detectors are working in all bedrooms, fire extinguishers are mounted near kitchen, septic tank is adequate for the occupancy limit, and so forth.
There are liabilities both the owner and county might incur by allowing ‘guests’ in uninspected and unsafe motel-like structures. These ‘transient public lodging businesses’ need to be properly licensed before offering any rooms for daily or weekly rent, to pay required state sales tax and county ‘transient occupancy tax’ (aka bed tax), and to be inspected on start up and then on a regular basis by County code enforcement in lieu of Fla State DBPR inspectors.
The County Commission’s vote today to establish special parking requirements on ‘vacation house rental property’ is a step in the right direction. But many more steps will be needed to get this growing ‘business’ under control, while balancing the need of business investors running these establishments against members of local residential neighborhoods’ rights to safety, security and tranquility.