At the January 26th, 2016 Wilton Manors City Commission meeting, committee members agreed to move forward with regulations for short-term, vacation rental regulations. The Fort Lauderdale City Commission has already created and adopted their Vacation Rental ordinance requiring owners of short-term, vacation rental property to register their property. The concern from residents near such properties is that transitory use of residential property affects the character of the community and are “injurious to the health of the community”. The purpose of the ordinance is, “to monitor and provide reasonable means for citizens of the City of Wilton Manors to mitigate impacts created by such transitory uses of residential property within the City of Wilton Manors.”
The City is following in the footsteps of many cities in Florida and across the country, especially those supported by tourist related activities, by enacting what many vacation rental owners are citing as too strict and intrusive.
A quick search on VRBO.com shows about 120 vacation rentals within the Wilton Manors city limits, priced from $69 to $638 per night. The same properties can also be found on sites like HomeAway.com, VacationRentals.com, Tripping.com and more. Some owners have also setup their own web sites, especially when offering multiple units such as PrideVacationRentals.com.
The subject of Ordinance No. 2016-002 states, “AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF WILTON MANORS, FLORIDA CREATING ARTICLE XII. – VACATION RENTALS, OF CHAPTER 10 – LICENSES, PERMITS AND BUSINESS REGULATIONS, OF THE CODE OF ORDINANCES OF THE CITY OF WILTON MANORS, FLORIDA, TO PROVIDE FOR REGULATION OF VACATION RENTALS AS DEFINED IN SECTION 509.242, FLORIDA STATUES (2014); PROVIDING FOR CONFLICTS, PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY, PROVIDING FOR CODIFICATION AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE”
The proposed requirements of the new article include:
- Registration of the parcel as a Vacation Rental and submittal of application providing specific information including, but not limited to, legal description of the parcel, Responsible Party contact information; and website address(es) which advertise the property as a Vacation Rental.
- Meeting minimum requirements for the issuance of a Certificate of Compliance.
- Addressing standards specific to Vacation Rentals which include, but are not limited to, minimum life/safety requirements; maximum occupancy; solid waste handling and containment; minimum lease wording; minimum information provided to lessee; designation of Responsible Party, and adhering to the City of Wilton Manors’ sexual offender and sexual predator regulations.
- Initial and routine compliance inspections.
- Provides for suspension and revocation of Vacation Rental Certificate of Compliance.
The Commission has only voted to move forward, and the ordinance now goes to Planning & Zoning for review. It will return to commission for final review, commenting by public, and eventual voting on passing. As proposed, the requirements mirror some of the same steps that Fort Lauderdale Vacation Rentals must follow.
With one exception…Wilton Manors has added a requirement that owners must provide, “The website address for any and all websites which advertise the Residential property for rent as a Vacation Rental.” I believe this requirement will be omitted from the final ordinance, as it cannot effectively be managed. No other business is required to provide website advertising links to the city as a matter of compliance and approval to conduct business. In addition, must the owner continually provide updates to the city with new links? Some owners use sites like Craigslist to temporarily advertise, then create new ads later when the property is available again. Does the city get notified if a link is removed, changed, or updated? Cities certainly don’t require hotels, motels and timeshares to provide that information.
However, it is unclear whether the ordinance applies to owner’s renting out a room in their house, using sites like AirBnB.com. I’m not a lawyer, but the definition of a “Vacation Rental” seems to imply that only entire “units” are covered under the law, meaning an entire condo, rental apartment, townhouse, or single or mulit-family home.
At the State level, separate Florida House & Senate bills have been drafted on Vacation Rental regulation.
- HB 1295 Relating to Listings for Vacation Rental Property (2016 Session)
- HB 4045 Relating to Vacation Rentals (2016 Session)
- SB 0348 Relating to Vacation Rentals (2016 Session)
- SB 1158 Relating to Rental Listings for Vacation Rental Property (2016 Session)
The full draft of the Wilton Manors Vacation Rental ordinance is available for download. Check back in the coming weeks for updates on the city’s regulation plans.