Florida Senate OKs Galvano amendment on vacation rentals bill

Posted by SARA KENNEDY on March 20, 2014 

MANATEE -- The Florida Senate Thursday OK’d an amendment offered by Bradenton’s state Sen. Bill Galvano to a bill addressing vacation rental regulations.

Senate Bill 356 would repeal a provision in a law passed in 2011 prohibiting local governments from regulating vacation rentals, which are houses rented to tourists on a short-term basis.

Under terms of Galvano’s amendment, regulation of vacation rentals would be allowed with one exception: A local government could not require a minimum stay greater than a week, said Galvano, R-Bradenton, after the voice vote.

“The amendment represents a fair compromise, and members of the Senate supported that compromise,” he said.

However, Paul Hayes, president of the Florida Vacation Rental Managers Association, Inc., an opponent of the bill, said Galvano’s amendment “still offers too much opportunity for vacation rental property owners to be unfairly targeted and even banned. This is a clear threat to the property rights of these individuals.”

The amended bill still faces another test in the Senate, as well as consideration of a similar measure in the House, and would also need the governor’s OK in order to become law.

In 2011, lawmakers passed HB 883, which forbade local governments from “regulating, restricting or prohibiting” vacation rentals, with some grandfathered exceptions.

Since then, local communities in Manatee and elsewhere have experienced an influx of mini-hotels in residential neighborhoods, which neighbors complain cause parking, noise and trash headaches their local governments are prohibited from resolving.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.

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