Galvano: Florida House bill won't fix vacation rental problems

skennedy@bradenton.comMay 1, 2014 

1027_BRLO_rentals

After passage of a law in 2011 , which forbade local governments from "regulating, restricting or prohibiting" vacation rentals, with some grandfathered exceptions, large complexes began sprouting on single lots in Holmes Beach. GRANT JEFFERIES/Bradenton Herald

GJEFFERIES@BRADENTON.COM Buy Photo

MANATEE -- The Florida House Wednesday OK'd a bill regulating vacation rental properties, but a local state senator said it would not solve problems with short-term rentals plaguing Manatee County.

"I can't support that language," said state Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, after the 90-27 vote in the House.

"We might as well keep the status quo. The language we put on in the Senate was balanced and addressed the problem communities in the state were having. The House should have taken it up in that form," Galvano said.

"In our community, the issue was the one- and two-night stays that turned traditional rental properties into

mini-hotels," said Galvano. "The way the House language is doesn't fix that for us and so I don't believe I can support the bill at this point. It doesn't address the problem we have in Manatee County and on our island."

Senate Bill 356 says a local government may not prohibit vacation rentals or regulate duration or frequency of rental stays, with some exceptions.

The bill now will be returned to the Senate as the Legislature approaches its final day Friday, officials said.

State Reps. Greg Steube and Jim Boyd of Bradenton voted in favor of the bill as it was amended in the House, according to the House website.

Steube said he voted for the bill because he was concerned about the property rights of individuals who purchased homes in order to rent on a short-term basis to tourists.

Under the House bill" "You can regulate them, give local governments the decision on what's best for their community, but balancing the private property rights so they can't regulate as to the frequency or duration of these rentals," said Steube.

If the Senate does not go along with the House version, time will run out, and no vacation rental measure will pass this year, Steube predicted.

"There's no time to amend it," he said.

Paul Hayes, president of the Florida Vacation Rental Managers Association, called the House vote "a fair compromise for all property owners."

"This approach strikes a needed balance that we hope will protect Florida's vital, $31-billion-per-year vacation rental economy," he said.

In 2011, lawmakers passed HB 883, which stripped local governments of the power to regulate, restrict or prohibit vacation rentals with some grandfathered exceptions.

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

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

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