City Commission Workshop: At the City Commission Workshop held July 10, 2023, Staff discussed making Vacation Rentals (Chapter 34.5) applicable citywide. Currently this Chapter only applies to properties on the barrier islands.
CCNA BoD Support Letter: Ahead of the workshop, on July 7th, the CCNA Board of Directors sent a letter of support for the Expansion of the Vacation Rental Ordinance to Inland Sarasota.
Committee: CCNA Board of Directors on July 20th appointed Chris Goglia, President, St. Armand’s Residents Association and Jim Ludwig, CCNA 1st Vice President) to work with the City Commissioners and Staff in making this ordinance citywide. Both were instrumental in the passage of the original ordinance. With Chris away for the summer, Carl Shoffstall, President Lido Key Residents Association has been added to the committee.
Rationale and Frequent Asked Questions
CCNA Member neighborhoods across the city have reached out to both City Leaders and the CCNA Board to advocate for the extension of Chapter 34.5 – Vacation Rentals to be applicable citywide. As passed in April of 2021, the ordinance applied only to residential zones on the barrier islands.
As the Barrier Island neighborhoods found, our mainland neighborhoods are increasingly finding properties in their neighborhoods that are catering to short term renters in structures that are unsupervised, over-occupied, hosting frequent late-night parties with many guests, resulting in excessive noise, parking on sidewalks and lawns and properties with excessive trash and garbage accumulation.
As there was when this ordinance was debated back in 2019 – 2021, there is a general misunderstanding of which properties would come under the ordinance. For clarification, here are some answers to common questions:
Q: Why do the mainland City of Sarasota neighborhoods have issues, but the surrounding neighborhoods in Sarasota County don’t seem to?
A: The minimum rental period in the City of Sarasota is “more than 7 days”, whereas the minimal rental period in Sarasota County is “30 days”, except for properties Zoned RMF on the barrier islands. This means in Sarasota County an owner cannot legally operate a short-term (less than 30 days) vacation rental in the county, except for one zoned residential, multiple-family on the barrier islands. Single Family zoned residences everywhere in the county including Siesta, Casey and Manasota keys are prohibited from operating as a short-term vacation rental. The only place in Sarasota County where a person can rent a short-term vacation rental is the City of Sarasota.
Q: Under the City of Sarasota’s Vacation Rental Ordinance (Chapter 34.5) who must register?
A1: This Ordinance Applies ONLY IF ALL 3 of the following are true:
- Single Family, Duplex, Triplex and Quadplex structures located on a Residential Zoned Property,
- Structures where the Owner does not live on premises.
- Structures that cater to “transient” rentals. The State of Florida defines this as anyone who rents for a period of less than 30 days, 3 or more times a year.
A2: This Ordinance Does Not Apply To:
- Single Family, Duplex, Triplex and Quadplex structures NOT located on a Residential Zoned Property,
- Structures where the Owner lives on premises.
- Structures rented for 30 days or more at a time.
- Any Condo, Co-Op or Timeshare.
Q: I rent out a room in my home, will I need to register?
A: Most likely NO you will not be affected by this ordinance. The traditional “bNb” where the resident rents out a bedroom or one that has a separate suite for guests, even if detached would be exempt from registration.
Q: I share my residence with other housemates, will I need to register?
A: Most likely NO you will not be affected by this ordinance. The arrangement / lease in this situation typically would be month to month or a timespan 30 days or more.
Q: I occasionally house trade with another family, will I need to register?
A: Most Likely NO: In these situations, you would not be required to register.
- You do it less than 3 times a year
- You do it for 30 days or more at a time
Q: Why does Sarasota County not consider single family residences eligible for short-term rentals?
A: Strict interpretations of Building Codes (State and Federal) do not include transient housing as “permissible use”. Building codes for “transient housing” generally have more safety features and other requirements (like smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and in some cases sprinklers, etc.) that are not mandatory in a single-family residence. Virtually every large community in Florida has taken the position Sarasota County has in following State and Federal Building Codes and prohibiting short term rentals in single family residential zones.
Q: Does State and/or Sarasota County require registration of rental property?
A: YES: The State of Florida requires anyone renting for 6 months or less to be licensed with the State of Florida. In Sarasota County, the owner has to maintain records, including the names and addresses of the lessees, that are adequate to establish the period for which a unit is rented and the names of family members or unrelated individuals occupying the premises during each rental period. Such records shall be provided upon request to inspectors authorized by the County. Also, the County has a mandatory 6% Tourist Tax and the owner must register with the County Tax Collector to submit that tax payment. That tax applies to the entire county including the City of Sarasota.
Q: How does the City or County know if I am renting.
A: Both the City and the County are now using very sophisticated computer monitoring systems that track all rental advertising in print media and electronic media. Also, every major advertising platform, like AirbNb, VRBO, Booking.com, Trip Advisor, Expedia, HomeToGo, Tripping, Homestay.com, atraveo, OneFineStay and a host of others have contractual agreements with cities and counties that require advertising that complies with local ordinances and many also will collect the appropriate state and local taxes and submit those on behalf of the owner.
Neighborhood Resident Perspective
- Supports neighbors right to parking.
- Supports neighbors right to quiet use of their property.
- Specific city support staff when/if absent owner ignores neighbor/code compliance issue.
- Helps neighbor to identify owners when need for repair of neighbor property damaged by renters.
- Supports enforcement of more than 7-day minimum code for rental.
- Brings the facility into compliance with state regulations for Transient Occupants.
Property Owners Perspective
- Local oversight protecting property
- Annual review and inspection can be used as a marketing tool on rental websites
- Damage support through city magistrate reporting to validate claim for charging renter
- Tenant Packet to help inform renter of neighborhood requirements
- Does not apply if property is owner’s residence.
- Current ordinance would require registration if the owner lives next to property
Why regulate short-term rentals in the first place?
Here is an excerpt from Granicus in their “Home-sharing and Short-term Rental Regulations FAQ. Granicus is the software platform used by the City of Sarasota.
A: There are many good reasons why local government leaders are focused on finding ways to manage the rapid growth of short-term rental properties in their communities. To name a few:
1. Increased tourist traffic from short-term renters has the potential to slowly transform peaceful residential communities into “communities of transients” where people are less interested in investing in one another’s lives, be it in the form of informal friend groups or church, school and other community based organizations.
2. Short-term renters may not always know (or follow) local rules, resulting in public safety risks, noise issues, trash and parking problems for nearby residents.
3. So-called “party houses” i.e. homes that are continuously rented to larger groups of people with the intent to party can severely impact neighbors and drive down nearby home values.
4. Conversion of residential units into short-term rentals can result in less availability of affordable housing options and higher rents for long-term renters in the community.
5. Local service jobs can be jeopardized as unfair competition from unregulated and untaxed short-term rentals reduces demand for local bed & breakfasts, hotels and motels.
6. Towns often lose out on tax revenue (most often referred to as Transient Occupancy Tax / Hotel Tax / Bed Tax or Transaction Privilege Tax) as most short-term landlords fail to remit those taxes even if it is required by law.
7. Lack of proper regulation or limited enforcement of existing ordinances may cause tension or hostility between short-term landlords and their neighbors
8. The existence of “pseudo hotels” in residential neighborhoods (often in violation of local zoning ordinances etc.) may lead to disillusionment with local government officials who may be perceived as ineffective in protecting the interests of local tax-paying citizens.
Here is the URL for this site: Home-sharing and Short-term Rentals Regulations FAQ | Granicus
Another site worth reading is specific to Florida:
The following link is a very good clarifier on what the State of Florida laws are and what communities around Florida have put in place to control Short Term rentals.