Local couple wins Airbnb code enforcement challenge

TITUSVILLE, Florida – A Titusville couple’s struggle to continue renting rooms as Airbnb marked what owner and host saw as a surprise concession by the city’s code enforcement board.

Jeffrey D. Daniel, a semi-retired commercial musician, argued that renting his room did not violate the intent of the city ordinance, which reads in part: “It is illegal for the landlord to a detached single family home to rent or lease the accommodation to another person for periods of (3) months or less.

“I thought it would be a slam dunk for the city,” Daniel said. “But we discussed a point of common sense.”

By a vote of 3 to 2, the Titusville Code Enforcement Council agreed that Daniel and his wife had not violated the city’s short-term rental code, as they had never rented the entire property. housing and were still present.

The Danieles have been renting three rooms in their home since last July, but in April they received a notice of violation from the city following an anonymous complaint from a neighbor.

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Edward Moniz, a member of the Code Enforcement Committee, lives right across from the Daniel’s house.

Moniz recused himself from the vote despite saying he had not had any “neighborly” contact with the Daniels for seven years.

City records show two previous code enforcement complaints against Daniel by a neighbor in 2011: a broken fence and allegations of visitor cars blocking a neighbor’s driveway.

The Daniels said they’ve rented rooms more than 30 times since last July for $ 60 a room in peak season, which runs from March through May.

Daniel reposted the rooms on the Airbnb site last week.

“We just thank you for spreading the story,” said Daniel.

Deputy City Attorney Chelsea Farrell told council any changes to the existing ordinance would be
erasing the city’s “grandfather” status authorized by Florida law established in 2011.

Law 508 essentially blocks any new rule on vacation rentals after 2011. It reads in part:
“A local law, ordinance or regulation cannot restrict the use of vacation rentals … unless a law or ordinance was in force before June 1, 2011.”

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Orlando attorney Jacob Stuart told News 6 that in his opinion, the Titusville case should never have gone to the code enforcement committee.

“The law is black and white,” Stuart said. “If someone stays in the house or residence and rents a room like an Airbnb, the city and state under current law have no basis to intervene.”

The city reserves the right to appeal the decision within 30 days.

Stuart cautioned that the Titusville decision did not set a radical legal standard.

“I think people need to review each city’s ordinance to check that there is no nuance in the language,” he said.

For more information on Florida short-term rental ordinances and regulations, click or tap here.

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