There has been a lot of local furor over rude renters disturbing the peace, leaving trash and otherwise making it tough for local, full-timers to enjoy the laid-back atmosphere we love on AMI. And now, the Legislators who represent the area are moving to return local rule after restricting that back in 2011.
Here’s a summary:
1) Florida Legislature passed a bill limiting local rights in setting time limits for residential house rentals. They said that no more restrictive rules could be made than those at the time the bill passed. City of Anna Maria had NO limits. Thus, one could theoretically rent by the hour. Holmes Beach had earlier passed a resolution limiting weekly rentals to an area containing duplex or heavier use zoning. People who live next to large, ‘party’ houses, are tired of a new party each week. Some renters are not respectful of the quiet we all enjoy here on AMI. Thus, a ground roots agitation to limit short-term rentals – evidently from a variety of cities, not just those on AMI – which would also limit individual property owners rights to do with their property what they will. So… if the Legislature overturns their prior work, local forces could limit rentals, which would be a serious economic consequence for property owners here on AMI.
2) Is it likely that one month minimum could pass all three cities on AMI? Probably not. And even if it does, I envision many, many lawsuits from property owners which will really bollix up the works.
3) City of Anna Maria tried to define three-bedroom houses as motels. At one point, their city council voted to say that was so, and that all rentals of three-bedroom houses in the city were – effective immediately – no longer available for short-term rent, as no motels other than those pre-existing could be allowed in that city. The idiots on the council recanted a couple of days later and withdrew that decision. But it’s just an example of how knee-jerk reactions to citizens complaining about noise and trash can have serious side effects.
What will happen? I don’t really know. But time will tell, of course. I believe that even the wackiest city council people can see that if weekly rentals are banned, that most businesses will suffer extreme consequences, and that owners of such properties will face economic hardship from loss of income, and that property values will drop all over the place. Not likely in the long run. Short term? Maybe in Anna Maria. Say, 50/50. Then the lawsuits start. In Holmes Beach, maybe a 25% chance they would try to go all monthly. More likely, they will keep status quo.
Here is an alert that Broker Larry Chatt of Island Real Estate sent out yesterday evening to property owners who have our company as their rental agents.
State of Florida Property Rights Threatened- Please read and act ASAP – From Larry Chatt
Island Real Estate – Anna Maria Island property owners:
Firstly, I apologize for the lengthy email. Over the past 12 months I could have sent similar emails about 5 times however the experts that understand how Florida Legislation works urged us all to wait to unleash our voices at the right time. Now is the right time, so please act now. We have until end of day Monday to act. Time is urgent.
Since 2011 we have enjoyed the hard work of many to pass a bill known as House Bill 883. This bill says that local municipalities cannot establish rules that restrict only vacation rentals. In my humble opinion, house bill 883 is the only thing that has stopped Holmes Beach and Anna Maria City from passing one month rental minimums and taking away our rights to rent our Anna Maria Island property. I know how irrational this must sound but less than one year ago the city of Anna Maria told us that we could not and should not be renting three bedroom homes or larger, effective immediately. Call all your guests and tell them to “turn around, you cannot stay.” Of course this long story became short and three nights after the insanity started the city commissioners voted again and reversed their earlier decision with the help of their legal counsel. History has proven this is possible.
I am sorry to report that we are now in jeopardy of losing House Bill 883. Our higher-level state protection is on the cusp of being removed permanently. I am very close to this situation and I am gravely concerned our property rights are about to take a big step closer to losing this battle. In the past few weeks the repeal of House Bill 883 unanimously passed through the senate and it has been earmarked by a very powerful senator to get this through the House and fast. What normally takes a month has been consolidated to be voted on in days this upcoming Tuesday. Our lobbyist as well as the experts agree, if the House committee passes this bill to go into the legislative session for 2014, it is very likely we have lost the battle and we will lose our higher state protection. Our Anna Maria Island cities will now have the ability to take away our rights to rent weekly and I believe will require all rentals to be one month in duration.
The economic impact would be devastating to the island. Vacation rentals would earn 25% of current income, restaurants and shops would no longer have customers and our island with lots of choices for visitors would resemble North Longboat Key. Many of you will answer my plea that the “City cannot do that.” If they do, “I will sue.” You bet we will take legal action but it will be costly and during the legal battle we can all kiss our property values good-bye. No educated property investor would ever purchase on Anna Maria Island during the legal battle and the repercussions of the legal worries will have an impact for years after a successful court decision. Please review the form letter below and email or call the names found below and let your voice be heard. It is best to include your FLORIDA address in your signature line so the members of the House committee have the perception you are a Florida voter. Please watch for future updates and feel free to email or call for more information on how you can help.
And another plea for help:
Dear Florida Property Owners
Right now in Tallahassee, a very harmful bill is speeding through the legislature that will severely restrict your property rights and strip away the freedom to manage your vacation rental business.
To protect our rights and fight for our jobs WE MUST MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD RIGHT NOW. There are two easy ways to do this: (1) Email the Legislature, (2) Call the committee members who are considering the bill. WE NEED YOU TO DO BOTH BEFORE NEXT MONDAY (FEB 3), and we’re making it easy for you.
At the bottom is a list of legislators in the Florida House of Representatives who we need you to contact. There are email addresses and phone numbers for each.
FIRST, SEND THEM EMAILS…
Send an INDIVIDUAL email to EACH of the Representatives on the list (for your convenience, a suggested format is below. If you are pressed for time, you can simply cut and paste – but also feel free to make the words your own):
Dear Representative __________________:
I’m writing today to urge you to oppose HB 307 because the bill will destroy my property rights and those of other vacation property owners like me. We are a vital part the Florida’s tourism economy. This bill is unnecessary because current law already balances the rights of all property owners. HB 307 would result in severe restrictions that would “zone out” some small businesses like mine. With economic recovery just starting, it is the wrong time to impose laws and regulations that will crush our business. Please stand up and protect private property rights in Florida by opposing this harmful bill. YOU MUST VOTE “NO” ON HB 307 in the Business & Professional Regulation Subcommittee meeting taking place on Tuesday, February 4.
[Your name here]
SECOND, THEN CALL THEIR OFFICES…
The phone numbers that are listed for each member are their legislative offices. You will likely get a staff person or voicemail. Please be clear, concise and respectful. Feel free to share the passion you have for your rights and your business, but try not be angry.
Here’s a suggested script for the call:
Hi, I’m calling to let Representative ________ know that I’m urging a “NO” vote on HB 307 in the Business & Professional Regulation Subcommittee meeting on Tuesday, February 4. Men and women like me in the vacation rental business are part of the state’s important tourism economy. This bill will destroy our property rights and allow over-regulation that will hurt our business or even put us out of business. During the last few years of tough economic times, I worked very hard and contributed to Florida’s economy, and I need Representative ________’s support to oppose this very bad bill.
FINALLY, FORWARD THIS CALL TO ACTION AND ASK YOUR FAMILY, FRIENDS, VENDORS, AND EMPLOYEES TO MAKE THE SAME CALLS AND EMAILS.
Here are the key Florida House Members to target, but also target whomever your local House and Senate Representatives are!
Representative: District Phone: Capitol Phone: Email:
Debbie Mayfield (772) 778-5077 (850) 717-5054 email@example.com
Greg Steube (941) 341-3117 (850) 717-5073 firstname.lastname@example.org
Darryl Rouson (727) 906-3200 (850) 717-5070 email@example.com
Ben Albritton (863) 534-0073 (850) 717-5056 firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen Castor Dentel (407) 659-4818 (850) 717-5030 Karen.CastorDentel@myfloridahouse.gov
Travis Cummings (904) 278-5761 (850) 717-5018 Travis.Cummings@myfloridahouse.gov
Dwight Dudley (727) 552-2747 (850) 717-5068 Dwight.Dudley@myfloridahouse.gov
Dane Eagle (239) 772-1291 (850) 717-5077 Dane.Eagle@myfloridahouse.gov
Joe Gibbon (954) 893-5006 (850) 717-5100 email@example.com
Mike La Rosa (407) 891-2555 (850) 717-5042 Mike.LaRosa@myfloridahouse.gov
Kenneth Roberson (941) 613-0914 (850) 717-5075 firstname.lastname@example.org
Cynthia Stafford (305) 953-3086 (850) 717-5109 email@example.com
Carlos Trujillo (305) 470-5070 (850) 717-5105 firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Crisafulli (321) 449-5111 (850) 717-5051 email@example.com
Will Weatherford (813) 558-5115 (850) 717-5038 firstname.lastname@example.org
Robert Schenck (352) 688-5005 (850) 717-5035 email@example.com
Travis Hutson (386) 446-7644 (850) 717-5024 Travis.Hutson@myfloridahouse.gov
You can find the information for your local representatives at the website www.leg.state.fl.us
Broker-Owner of Island Real Estate
Island Real Estate
Direct Line: (941) 345-1288
6101 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, FL 34217
419 Pine Ave, Anna Maria City, FL 34216