Palmetto Bay seeks to regulate short-term rentals

For some residents of Palmetto Bay, constant short-term rentals have become problematic because of noise, parking and safety. The Palmetto Bay Village Council has responded by passing a set of ordinances to restrict short-term rentals and increase accountability for renters.

An abundance of people staying in rented dwellings are particularly problematic in Palmetto Bay, many residents say, because they relocated there in search of a calm, family-oriented area. Short-term rentals have proliferated in recent years due to websites such as Airbnb, which connect homeowners and lodgers.

Palmetto Bay resident Jay Bashein said he has been negatively affected by consistent short-term rentals in his neighborhood.

“You never know who’s going to be there,” he said. “You’re getting maybe 20 people staying in a house at one time with 10 cars parked outside. I’ve even seen party buses arriving at the house.”

The ordinance to regulate short-term rentals would prevent more than five unrelated people from renting a residential property, and require landlords to obtain background checks for all transient occupants. Failure to adhere to the restrictions would result in a fine.

“If you’re buying a home and renting it out every weekend, and you’re not present on the property, that’s when the problems start,” explained Councilmember Patrick Fiore, who voted in favor of the ordinance.

During the council meeting on May 6, the first of two ordinances to regulate short-term, vacation and transient rentals within the village was passed. The second of the two ordinances, which was passed on May 20, concerns enforcement of regulations on noise and parking. It also requires a property owner to be present at the time of rental.

Although the ordinances passed by the Village Council could rectify the situation for some of the frustrated neighbors, the true power resides with the Florida State Legislature, which has the final say in allowing municipal governments to prohibit and/or regulate short-term rentals, according to Vice Mayor John DuBois.

Miami Beach, for example, has banned rentals of less than six months. There are still, however, plenty of listings within its boundaries on the Airbnb platform.

DuBois, who sponsored the ordinances, said at the May 6 council meeting it is most likely the legislature will prohibit local governments from forbidding short-term rentals.

“The problem when cities pass these extreme ordinances is that’s when the state starts with its preemptive behavior,” he said.

Caplin News Contributor