Before the city’s new vacation rental regulations take effect, city officials held two meetings to answer questions and help owners with the application process.
“It was just our way of doing outreach,” said Roberta Moore, director of Community Development Services.
The new regulations were passed after residents complained that many vacation rental rentals are the source of loud noise and night and contribute to parking and litter problems on their streets. Some called for tougher regulations but commissioners said they were limited in what they could do because the state had prohibited local governments from preventing vacation rentals from operating in the city.
A vacation rental is defined by the city as a dwelling that is rented more than three times a year for periods of less than 30 days or one calendar month, whichever is less. Units that are advertised as regular rentals are also defined as vacation rentals. Time shares and establishments like Ed Lugo Resort are not included in the new regulations.
To register, the registration fee is $750 with a late fee of $187.50. The cost is also $750 to renew. Owners who register will have to have their property reviewed by five inspectors – fire marshal, structural inspector, electrical inspector, mechanical inspector and code compliance.
Moore said all five will be scheduled at the same time so owners won’t have to have each inspector come out on a different day.
Officials don’t know how many vacation rentals are in the city. In a previous interview with The Gazette, Jeffrey Hill, who owns some vacation rentals and manages 18 of them, estimates there at least 120 in the city.