Sarasota: We can regulate our own vacation rentals

Housing & Development

By Pat Morris | Mar 10, 2020

Sarasota is the latest in a spate of Florida cities that wants the state to get out of the short-term rental regulating business.

According to the city's Herald-Tribune, Florida Senate Bill 1128 would give the state the power to regulate and license short-term rentals and vacation properties, taking the authority to regulate them away from local towns.

The measure has engendered fierce opposition in vacation towns where permanent residents and snowbirds object to a constant flow of transients, often not screened or vetted, through their communities. The paper said a proliferation of “unofficial” hotels — basically absentee landlord-run large homes that use platforms such as AirBnB to rent to as many as 20 unrelated people at a time for periods that can span from two days to a couple of weeks — has exacerbated the problem.

While cities cannot stop people from renting out their properties for short terms, current law allows them to regulate and inspect rental homes, a right that would be diverted to the state under the new law, the Herald-Tribune reported.

Sarasota commissioners recently approved a resolution “strongly objecting” the bill. It has yet to receive enough support to move it to the Senate rules committee.

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City of Sarasota

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