Bradenton Airbnb hosts push back against city’s proposed rules
City leaders aim to better manage short-term rentals and some of the problems they pose to Bradenton neighborhoods by putting in place a new set of rules.
The proposal, which has been hailed by neighbors and criticized by hosts, would enact regulations that, among other things, would limit the number of guests allowed in a home and ensure city officials have someone to contact in case of problem.
Short-term rentals, such as Airbnb and Vrbo properties, allow owners to rent out their homes to customers who plan to stay between a few days and a few months. Florida law prevents local municipalities from prohibiting where short-term rentals can operate.
Bradenton officials estimate there are about 650 active short-term rental properties in the city. While some hosts choose to allow guests to sleep in an unoccupied bedroom in their home, many hosts rent out the whole house, creating a revolving door of visitors in residential neighborhoods with little supervision, according to city officials.
In a bid to quell some of the top complaints they’ve heard over the years, Bradenton City Council is set to consider a draft ordinance that requires short-term rental hosts to provide key information to staff of the city before being able to host guests. The move aims to prevent common neighborhood nuisances, such as noise and parking problems.
“99% of people do it right, but there’s a small percentage that abuses the system and makes us create these rules,” Mayor Gene Brown said. “Those who do it correctly, it won’t matter, but those who don’t will have to come into compliance. We are simply trying to manage and protect the quality of life of our residents.
If council votes to approve the program at a public meeting Wednesday morning, the city will begin requiring owners of short-term rentals to apply for the right to continue operating their homes as temporary lodging facilities. This application will request several pieces of information and require landlords to provide certain items and information in their rental properties.
Hosts push back on rent regulations
But opposition to the new system is already beginning to emerge. Several short-term rental hosts who spoke to the Bradenton Herald said they believe the requirements will create more problems than they aim to solve.
Highlighting the popularity of cell phones, hosts criticized the city’s decision to require a landline phone in the rental property. The rental owners have also challenged the requirement to keep a record of the contact details of every guest they have hosted over the past two years.
“I strongly oppose these demands. I will not pay to install a fixed line. It’s ridiculous. Nobody uses them anymore,” said Sally Wood McDonald, a Bradenton resident who used Airbnb to rent a room in her home for six years.
“It’s all so over the top and really expensive for old people like me who rely on Airbnb for extra income,” she added. “They’re going to find it impossible to comply with any of this.”
Bradenton City Council first discussed implementing a short-term rental licensing program last February. Council members said they had received complaints about some rental properties that would cram in as many occupants as possible. The Herald’s online search identified several short-term rental homes in the Bradenton area that advertise the capacity to house at least a dozen guests.
City Attorney Scott Rudacille has suggested that a licensing program could be the solution to some of these problems. About a year later, Rudacille wrote an order to implement the program.
How will the Bradenton Licensing Program solve the problems?
Between the enforcement and the signage rules, there are more than 30 provisions that the city’s short-term rental license program will require hosts to follow.
For example, each rental will need to post the trash pickup schedule, the location of the nearest hospital, emergency evacuation instructions, a sign indicating the number of cars allowed to park on the property, and directions. other useful information.
According to the ordinance, one of the signs on the short-term rental property must also include the following message: “You are on vacation in a residential area. Please be a good neighbor by not making excessive noise or engaging in rowdy behavior, especially after 11:00 p.m. Such behavior can deprive your neighbors of the peaceful enjoyment of their home.
In most cases, neighbors have no way of reaching the responsible person when guests are causing trouble. Bradenton’s licensing program hopes to tackle this problem head-on by ensuring 24-hour contact for rental properties. If “conduct or behavior” issues arise, that person will be required to resolve them within the hour, according to city officials.
Some neighbors said they supported the city’s attempt to add railings to the short-term rental market.
“The city can’t do much, but at some point you have to balance the integrity of the neighborhood,” said Dave Bouziane, a Bradenton resident who lives near an Airbnb property that made the object of noise complaints. “You can regulate them like a business because that’s what they are.”
When the council discussed what to do about short-term rentals last year, the Association of Realtors of Sarasota and Manatee expressed skepticism about the city’s ability to fix the system. With a draft order finally available, the organization sent a letter to elected officials saying it could not support rules that could “prevent” landlords from exercising their private property rights.
“We are not confident that the City will be able to enforce a more complex regulatory regime like this. However, we are confident that if (the Short Term Rental Licensing Scheme) is enacted, it will be next to impossible for small individual landlords to rent their properties viably due to the myriad of registration requirements, d inspections, fees and charges as required by this order.
Bradenton’s proposed rules would punish “law-abiding landlords,” Wood McDonald said. If the rules are approved, she could consider quitting her part-time job as an Airbnb host.
“I’m not going to jump through all these hoops. I don’t make a fortune out of this. It’s a little money here and a little money there,” said Wood McDonald, who is also a retired real estate agent. “I like it, but if the city wants to fight me for it, I just won’t.”
Asked to comment, city administrator Rob Perry pushed back against the idea that Bradenton’s new requirements would create too much of a burden on short-term rental operators or city employees tasked with overseeing the program.
“When you think about it, how much work does it take to post the nearest hospital or the trash can schedule? Most of those things aren’t hard to do,” said Perry, who argued that even While the list may seem long, many of the requirements have public safety in mind.
“If there’s a person who wants to turn their home into a business, well, it doesn’t seem like we’re asking for unreasonable information,” he continued. “We have to be concerned about community occupancy and public safety. In any business you run, there is some degree of compliance.
Bradenton City Council will consider the proposed ordinance for a vote at a public meeting on Wednesday, January 26. The meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. at Bradenton City Hall, 101 12th St. W., downtown.
This story was originally published January 25, 2022 3:59 p.m.