Indian Rocks Beach leaders form consensus on short-term rental rules
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH, Fla. — It’s getting harder and harder for Kathleen Major to recognize Indian Rocks Beach, a community she’s loved since moving there in the mid-’90s.
According to Major, the noise is more intrusive.
“At four in the morning, I had to ask the people next door to please turn it down. They were doing fireworks at 4 a.m.,” she said.
Additionally, Major and her friend, Joanne Schickel, said walking their dogs has become riskier due to the speed of golf carts being driven by tourists.
“We just want our quarters back,” Schickel said.
These two neighborhoods, many of which are east of Gulf Blvd. in Indian Rocks Beach — have become oversaturated with short-term vacation rentals like Airbnbs and VRBO.
Major, Schickel and others who showed up at a Tuesday night City Commission working session on the matter said short-term rentals are often accompanied by drunken occupiers, rowdy bachelor parties, loud music and parking that can clog the narrow streets of the neighborhood.
Soon, at Indian Rocks Beach, a nearly 20-page list of regulations could become official for both owners of short-term rentals and people who stay there.
During the working session, the commissioners spent hours reaching a consensus on what they would like to see in an order that the city attorney will soon draft.
The list included:
- A rental owner or representative should be available 24/7 to respond – within the hour – to reported issues such as noise complaints.
- Use of a short-term rental swimming pool or hot tub would not be permitted between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.
- Amplified music would not be permitted outside of a rental between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.
- No one other than those who rented the property would be allowed on said property between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.
- Landlord tenants should provide an authorized paved parking space for each room
In terms of occupancy, rentals outside of the city’s commercial tourist district would be capped at a maximum of 10 occupants (two people allowed per room; two allowed in a common area).
Landlords should post the rules on the rental property and give a copy to the person renting the property.
Tenants could not use the properties for events like weddings and corporate retreats
Landlords should register their rentals with the city on an annual basis.
Some have argued that rules are a good start to reducing a disruptive problem.
Elizabeth Questa and Ahmed Omran, however, believe the rules unfairly punish responsible rental landlords.
The two fell in love with Indian Rocks Beach after vacationing in the coastal community. They have since moved from New Jersey to Florida and purchased a duplex in Indian Rocks Beach. They rent out the half they don’t use to vacationers through Airbnb.
“All of our guests are older couples,” Omran said. “They come for more than a week. Perhaps less. And they never have any problems.
Questa, a teacher, said the rules – if passed by the city commission – would be tantamount to punishing her entire class for one student’s misbehavior.
“What are the city leaders discussing here – do you think it’s unfair?” ABC Action News asked him.
“I really feel like it’s unfair,” Questa replied.
The City Attorney will use the commissioner’s input during the working session to develop a draft ordinance that the commissioners will have the opportunity to review, debate and vote on at a later date.