Mailbag: Readers sound off about city rental law
Rental ordinance common sense
About nine years ago, growing complaints regarding vacationing, disruptive short-term rentals caused the city council to begin considering the issue. Much commercial lobbying later, the current city council adopted Ordinance 15-01, the rental ordinance. In my opinion, their decision was good and not-so-good at the same time.
The "good" includes prioritizing community complaints over commercial interests; requiring registration of all rental properties; assigning accountability for disturbances to the landlord as well as to disappeared short-term perpetrators.
The "not-so-good" includes requiring annual registration renewal; mandating city annual fire inspections; mandating a dossier on each tenant for the city.
Let's apply some common sense here: Commercial interests want the rental ordinance repealed because, they say, we already have laws on the books dealing with noise, trash parking etc. Laws simply need to be enforced. This is true ... to a point. Unfortunately, the unlucky family that has to call for that police enforcement every week because of changing short-term rentals is overlooked. How many weeks would you tolerate having to repeatedly call the police ... two, 10, 20, forever?
I applaud city council for having enacted something. However, they could have done much better if the ordinance had been based on Marco Island's unique character instead of on the Marathon Key model. Past experience strongly suggests this rental ordinance should certainly not be repealed as wanted by the special interests. That said, common sense also suggests it can be amended toward a less intrusive, simpler legislation, acceptable to all of Marco Island, except ... guess who?
Why penalize so many?
I would like to voice my opinion of the recent Marco Island City Council decision to restrict short-term rentals. Most families cannot afford or even get a month vacation or time off from work.
When I first came to Florida to purchase a property, I fell in love with Marco Island because of its friendly family atmosphere. I bought a condo and then a house. I have been renting my home to friends and families from all over the world. Besides aiding my retirement funds, I have been able to share Marco Island and all of its beauty with many. I understand that the complaints about private rentals have been fewer than 10 this year. I don't understand why such an extreme change in rental policy that would penalize so many families and businesses, to pacify a few, would even be considered.
Peggy B. Dotson, property owner
No new protocols needed
I write to express my opposition to the Marco Island rental ordinance recently approved by the city council. My wife and I purchased our beautiful Marco Island house last year. We are very proud to be able to own this beautiful home in such a wonderful community and we were very disappointed with the recent passing of the ordinance.
I find it difficult to understand why entirely new protocols need to be established to deal with violations of existing codes pertaining to excessive noise, trash and vehicular issues. No one wants to be negatively impacted by these nuisance issues, but isn't that why we have code enforcement personnel along with the great members of the Marco Island Police Department?
As a retired law enforcement professional from New York, let me say that this is exactly what police officers throughout the country do – respond to citizens' complaints and take appropriate corrective action. Examples of such corrective action, at the responding officer's discretion, can be the issuance of a warning or a summons to the violator (or perhaps effect an arrest if the situation warrants). The incident, of course, should be documented with the officer submitting a incident report for future reference of an incident at the particular location. The point is this is what police officers do every day. We shouldn't let city council civilians (who don't know what they are doing or how to handle complaints) get involved in these matters. Leave it to the professionals.
In my opinion, there is no need to create another overly intrusive, more-government-oversight bureaucratic monster to collect unnecessary fees and establish unnecessary rules and laws to deal with situations that can clearly and easily be dealt with through existing protocol.
Our city council members who voted for this mess of an ordinance should take a look at what is happening in Washington and realize that big government is definitely not the answer. Hopefully they will come to their senses and withdraw the entire ordinance. And hopefully they will pay the price for their poor judgment at the next election cycle.
Strongly oppose rental measure
Just thought that I would tap out a few words on the latest from the good folks on the council at Marco Island.
It appears that we are now looking to force homeowners down a new path concerning rentals on the island. The legislation looks lengthy and I am quite sure will be just the very start of a process to extract additional revenue from homeowners.
Quite frankly this is just another tax that I am sure will be misappropriated. I would be interested to see the cases of noise etc that justify this move.
I strongly oppose this bill. Clearly, homeowners that rent their property want to make sure that clients enjoy time on the island and are respectful of neighbors. Its more likely that noise and drinking issues come from the beach ... whats next? Fortify the beach and charge access.
Martin Winter, property owner
Onerous, invasive, cumbersome empire building
I am sure that as a long-term property owner and resident of the Island you are very familiar with the Bundle of Rights of a property owner. One of these rights is "the right of disposition – the titleholder can sell, rent or transfer ownership or use of the property at will." It does not contemplate the imposition of greater and greater restrictions over these rights by any legislative body.
As you may recall, this is the second go around about the right of property owners to rent their property. In 2007-08, city council appointed a committee to review the "numerous" complaints from property owners about those reprehensible "boarding houses" in their neighborhoods. As it turned out, the actual verifiable and attributable complaints to short-term rentals, while they did exist, were rare. One of the principal complainants was one Ken Honecker, one of the committee members. The conclusion of the majority on the committee was that yes, there are violations and that these can be and must be handled through the proper and timely application of existing Ordinances.
Guess what the three major complaints were, Ms Turner: noise, parking and garbage receptacles.
Now let us move ahead to today. Mr. Honecker is one of our city council members and the same disturbing issues are once again shouted by the "multitude of affected property owners." Still without empirical evidence to support their claim of the wide-spread alleged abuses.
Ordinances exist to control these three major issues. Ask for their strict enforcement, not further governmental interference with mandated property rights. Many of us are against governmental incursion, at any level, on private property rights. Your passionate appeal for the preservation of the quality of life will not be achieved by the excessive scope of the new rental ordinance. It is onerous, invasive, cumbersome, empire building and unnecessary. Only the timely and rigorous response by the competent authority strictly applying existing ordinances to legitimate complaints will resolve the problem. Let us move on and let us live happily after.