New regulations on the way for Sarasota vacation rentals

Sarasota County

SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – Sarasota’s city leaders have been considering regulations for vacation rentals for some time now. It’s become a heated issue on the city’s barrier islands.

Lido Key has become a growing destination in recent years. The barrier island is known for its laid-back atmosphere compared to the bustling nearby Siesta Key. However, things are starting to change — and fast.

Developers have purchased and plowed down multiple homes on Claude Friedland’s street. After living on the key for 24 years, she’s putting her home up for sale. She says her slice of paradise just isn’t the same.

“I am moving away. I can’t deal with that all of this. It is not for me. It is not why I bought this house,” said Friedland.

She’s blaming the so-called hotel for diminishing her quality of life. Some of the rental properties can sleep up to 24 people each.

“I really thought that my little corner of paradise was going to be the last house of my life but, that’s not going to happen,” said Friedland.

City leaders voted unanimously on an ordinance that would regulate hotel houses on the city’s barrier islands but the change did come in time for Friedland to change her mind.

The ordinance will place a cap limit on the number of guests allowed in the homes to 10 people in single-family districts and 12 people in multi-family districts. It would also require owners to register their properties with the city.

In the end, commissioners and many residents are pleased with the decision.

“The residents feel that they’ve suffered long enough, and let’s get this done,” Commissioner Liz Alpert said.

8 On Your Side contacted the company who operates the rentals on Lido Key.

“Our goal is always to be good neighbors and community members. Our desire is to bring great guests to our area, and provide them with a great experience that will ensure they will return and support our community for years to come,” said a Lido Key Vacations spokesperson.

In terms of regulations, the LKV spokesperson said they already have several regulations in the proposed ordinance in place. “Our company has already self-imposed many of the regulations in this ordinance for the betterment of our management program and our guest experience. We believe that regulation, when done correctly, can be good for our rapidly growing industry; however, we would prefer that this regulation be handled by the DBPR’s Division of Hotel and Restaurant through which we are licensed,” said the spokesperson.

However, the builders behind the big vacation rentals say they feel as though they’re being unfairly targeted. They did say, they boost the local economy by bringing business to the area in the form of tourism, supporting the community

The changes will be phased in starting in January of next year.

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