My position on vacation rentals in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea:
Towns like Lauderdale-By-The-Sea are fighting powerful lobbying efforts in Tallahassee to be able to control the vacation rental problems in our neighborhoods. Currently, we are required to allow rentals of 7 days or more, even if we wanted to stop short term vacation rentals. The reason is the Board of Realtors. As a group, the lobbyists fight to be able to bring investors into residential neighborhoods and market their properties as vacation rentals.
This is why I turned down the request by the Realtors to meet with me and potentially endorse my campaign. I will always represent the residents first and had I participated in their government affairs process, a conflict of interest would have been created. My opponent is only the 2nd candidate in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea over the past decade that has taken the endorsement of the Realtors and as a realtor himself cannot be an impartial vote on this important issue. No sitting commissioner has even taken the meeting with the Board of Realtors.
My impartiality is unquestionable, I owe nothing to the Realtors and will speak for the residents. Even with the current ordinances and State limitations on regulation, there are steps that we can take as a commission on making sure that vacation rentals do not reduce the quality of life we enjoy.
1. Code compliance must vigorously enforce the time limits and registration requirements of the vacation rentals.
2. Code enforcement should review online listing sites like vrbo.com and airbnb.com to find listed properties in Town. This should be cross checked to properties that have registered with the Town.
3. Registered properties must comply with State and County regulations and inspections for safety, the same standard imposed on our hotels and motels.
4. Vacation rentals must show business and tax licenses in the property, this will be checked by Town during inspections.
5. Registered properties must comply with sales tax collections and reporting. Such reports should also be provided to the Town; we must be proactive to find owners that are bypassing these regulations.
The policies I outline above will make it more difficult to cheat the systems within current requirements. Investors must realize that Lauderdale-By-The-Sea will not be pushed around by lobbyists with their own agenda.
That is why I will fight for the residents and did not take the meeting with the Realtor lobbyists that endorsed by opponent. This endorsement is an indication of the priorities my opponent places on this issue.