PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Indian Rocks Beach is considering putting some controls on short-term vacation rental properties.
Current state law prevents local governments from banning short-term rental properties completely, but homeowners in Indian Rocks Beach say they have become a nuisance.
“It is a problem and it destroys neighborhoods and it needs regulation,” said John Pfanstiehl.
For some, short-term vacation rental properties offer a way for families or groups of people to stay together at a lower cost than traditional hotels. However, many homeowners say the rentals can quickly become the nightmare next door.
“And every Sunday you don’t know what group of strangers is going to be coming in,” Pfanstiehl said.
On his street, many homeowners are selling to investors who then quickly flip the property into a short-term rental.
“That’s going to be a rental house, that’s a rental house, that’s a rental house, the one behind me is a rental house, and the one across the street,” said Jean Scott who lives near Pfanstiehl. “We’ve got like 10 right in this one block.”
She’s a former City Commissioner who says the short-term rental properties do not belong in residential neighborhoods.
“This is a residential area and we have a large commercial tourist area in the city and that’s where they belong,” Scott said.
On Tuesday, the Indian Rocks Beach City Commission will consider an ordinance that puts safety restrictions on rental properties, as well as maximum occupancy levels and a requirement that owners or their agents be available at all times by phone for reports of emergency situations.
Former City Commissioner Phi Hanna says it’s a difficult problem to regulate.
“This is not an Indian Rocks Beach problem, it’s a Florida problem,” Hanna said, “and the primary driver of this is Tallahassee.”