Useful tips

DEAR HELOISE: I live in a very nice area of ​​Florida, in a beautiful well maintained community of residences. Lately we’ve noticed that a number of houses here have been sold to people who own them but don’t live there. Instead, they rent these houses to tourists who stay for around two weeks to a month.

The problem is that these Airbnb tenants don’t take care of the house or the lawn, and they’ve even been known to damage property. They throw parties and people get rowdy and rowdy long after midnight. A neighbor of mine called the police on his way home from work and found that one of the tenants had parked his car on his lawn. The neighbor across the street was woken up at 6 a.m. when he heard children’s voices in his garden. He found four children and a dog in his swimming pool. They told her they were here for two weeks and intended to use her pool as the house they were renting did not have a pool. He called the police.

How do we begin to shut down these rental homes? Rental homes drive down property values, causing litter and parking issues, and leaving the home poorly maintained. Everyone I talk to wants this to stop.

— Dolores H.,

Owner in Florida

DEAR READER: Start with the homeowners association first if you have one. Give them a petition with signatures from owners who are fed up. Most homeowners associations don’t allow running a business from a home, and that’s exactly what these absentee homeowners do. If you don’t have a homeowner’s association, or they don’t do anything about it, call your local councilor and explain the situation. Also be sure to send a letter to your mayor.

For each inconvenience, you must report it to the police and ask them to come out and talk to the tenants. You will also need to keep a written record of this.

This may require changing the laws of your city or state, but if that’s what it takes, then go for it. If the worst gets worse, you may need to see a lawyer. You might have a lawyer among your neighbors who can help you with this and better advise you on what to do.

DEAR READERS: Have you decided to lose weight after the holidays? Here are some tips that might help:

• Use a salad plate at mealtimes instead of a dinner plate.

• Keep your salad dressing aside. Dip your fork in it, then in your salad.

• For every five pounds you lose, reward yourself, but not with food or drink.

• Select a diet and exercise program that’s right for you. Fad diets don’t matter.

• If you sabotage your diet, you are the only one to suffer the consequences. Don’t let others convince you to cheat.

DEAR READERS: Animals depend on us for their protection. If you see an animal that is not being cared for or left in the cold, please report it to the police.

Send a tip to save time or money to Heloise, PO Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

[email protected]

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