Indian Rocks Beach to consider rules for short-term rentals

Indian Rocks Beach officials will consider a proposed short-term rental ordinance tonight at their 6 p.m. city council meeting. While state law won't allow the city to ban short-term rentals, it does allow it to set some rules, which many are eager to see.  

At a March workshop that brought in a packed house, city commissioners reviewed a first draft of proposed amendments to the city's ordinance regulating short-term vacation rentals. They also heard from residents, property managers and owners of vacation rentals on the issue the city has been grappling with for quite some time now, as residents have continued to complain about loud parties, parking problems, and trash left behind in once quiet, single-family neighborhoods.

"My golden years have really turned to grass because of the rental homes that are now right next to me and two across the street," said long-time resident Marilyn Bush. 

Home on Indian Rocks Beach.

Home on Indian Rocks Beach. 

Many blamed both a growing popularity of long-term vacation rentals through companies like Airbnb worldwide, and the booming Florida housing market, where out-of-state investors swooped in during the pandemic and bought homes for sale to specifically use as short-term rentals.

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On the other side of the argument, property owners have pointed to all the tourism money that visitors bring to the city.

A few major things considered in the most recent draft of the ordinance include capacity limits on short-term rentals being set for two people per bedroom, with a cap at 10 in homes inside residential districts and 12 in commercial districts. 

A sign on Indian Rocks Beach that favors homes and not short-term rentals.

A sign on Indian Rocks Beach that favors homes and not short-term rentals. 

Parking would be mandated to at least one parking space per bedroom for single-family homes.

The commission also wants property owners to provide renters with conduct rules. A copy of the city's solid waste collection schedule and enforce a "quiet time" between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. Should there be any complaints about a property, an owner or property manager would have to respond within one hour, which many have argued is unreasonable. 

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They also recommended that the city have property owners apply for, and pay a fee to register their vacation rentals with the city annually in addition to the state registration requirements.

All of these recommendations were up for revision and an updated draft of the ordinance will be read during the city council meeting.