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Collier County board votes to crack down on short-term vacation rentals

Collier County board votes to crack down on short-term vacation rentals
Posted at 6:43 PM, Mar 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-27 18:44:00-04

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. — Owners of short-term rental homes will soon experience a crackdown from code enforcement in Collier County. Tuesday, county commissioners voted to have staff begin enforcing rules that prohibit them from renting their homes for periods under six months.

Kathi Kilburn, a realtor in Naples, told commissioners that living next to a vacation rental has been anything but a vacation for her.

"It has affected my way of life," she said. "It has affected my property value."

Existing ordinance says that owners who list their homes for rent on web sites such as Airbnb and VRBO - more than 14,600 in Collier County - are supposed to rent them for terms of six months or more in most neighborhoods outside of city limits.

"I can see where they would want to crack down on short terms that are causing disturbances," said Kurt Schroeder, who is visiting Collier County from Connecticut for three and a half months. "I hope they don't chase us out."

Many rental homes like the one next door to Kilburn's home are rented by the week, and sometimes by the day.

"I have a hotel next to me," she said.

"From what I've been hearing from the homeowner's side is that the change in the way neighborhoods are evolving is frightening," said Commissioner Penny Taylor.

Naples realtor Todd Gridley believes that code enforcement will leave alone owners that rent homes for several months, but not necessarily as long as six months.

"What we'd like to see is something fair and balanced that wouldn't affect the snow birds coming down for their annual rentals," he said.

Taylor told Fox 4 that code enforcement officers would likely focus on the weekly and daily rental owners, starting with written notices of violation.

Commissioner Burt Saunders added that fines could eventually be levied, which could cost rental owners $250 to $500 for each day of violation.

Collier County Code Enforcement reported receiving 44 complaints about short-term rental homes in 2017. That number doubled to 90 in 2018.