7 Replies Latest reply: Dec 5, 2013 8:42 PM by swlinphx RSS

    Need some answers for a rather complex issues

    New Member

      We own a rental property in a beach community in SE Florida.  Our residential area has zoning laws which only permit renters to come in every 28 days. We would like to rent out-of-season to get some much needed additional income; therefore, we would like to offer rentals for shorter periods of time, blocking out the remaining 28 days so that no one is able to rent for that 28 day period thus keeping to the law which prohibits more than one rental per 28 days. Example: We must rent or home for 28 days.  Someone wants 2 weeks. We block out 28 days and don't rent it to anyone else. Then we rent it to the guests for 2 weeks. However, neighbors (residential area, remember) get angry and report it to the zoning commission in our city. We don't have people coming and going -- we simply have someone there for 2 weeks with a reduced price and a contract that must read the entire 28 day period.  This is a gray area for us because it's our decision what to charge but zoning says 28 days so we cannot charge the same as we would for those 28 days.  Any ideas?  If we make the contract (at a much reduced rate) for the 28 days and the renters are aware of their time period and decide to stay for that period of 28 days, what do we do? This could result in a negative review and also some problems as nosey neighbors begin to question their shorter stay. (And, oh year, we definitely have some neighbors who watch carefully!)  We are at a loss about what we can do. In season, it's no problem. 28 days rentals go quickly. It's the off-season that we need rented.  Any ideas, especially for people who have the same issues or lawyers who have come across this relatively gray area?! It's really a big problem since we are only breaking even or getting just a bit more during season, which is short in Florida-- Jan-April. I would appreciate comments that may circumvent the issue but also stays within the concept of the residential owners' needs and desires.  Thanks!

        • Need some answers for a rather complex issues
          meredith HomeAway Employee

          Hi sanibelgirl,


          You may have a better chance of getting a specific response to your question if you join the Florida Owners Group and pose it there.





          • Re: Need some answers for a rather complex issues
            marilyn Active Contributor

            This is a very difficult situation. More and more cities are requiring a 30 day minimum rental.


            First of all, it is rather difficult to find tenants who can go on vacation for such a length of time. Typical vacation rental is one or two weeks for most families. Some towns have stated that they do not care how long travelers stay as long as they have a month lease in place. So how can you be sure guests will leave when they are supposed to. Perhaps using the key locks which are programmed to work only during the dates they are paid to stay at the house.


            If you have nosey neighbors, you will definitely have issues.

            • Re: Need some answers for a rather complex issues
              sliver2907 Contributor

              This was an issue for me for a different reason.  I am aware that sometimes people will book a longer stay, ( 1 month) with the intention of getting a cheaper rate, than booking 3 weeks at the higher rate.  The truth is, I realized, that if someone wants to book for 1 month and leaves in 2 days, that is their business.  Honestly, what if your guests rent the house for 3 weeks and go camping in the Keys for 3 nights, are your neighbors going to complain to the city?  I think that you should just book for the 30 days, and if they want to stay 1 night or 30 nights, that is their business, just don't book anyone else and you are clear in concience.  You won't be fibbing to the city either, and your contract is legal.  What people do with their time is their own business. 

                • Re: Need some answers for a rather complex issues
                  swlinphx Premier Contributor

                  sometimes people will book a longer stay, ( 1 month) with the intention of getting a cheaper rate, than booking 3 weeks at the higher rate.

                  You can easily avoid that by not making three weeks at the weekly rate cost more than one month at the monthly rate.  A good rule of thumb is three weeks at the weekly rate is equal to one month at the monthly rate.

                • Re: Need some answers for a rather complex issues
                  twobitrentals Community All-Star

                  Have you tried just talking to your neighbors? I find that sometimes when you just open up and let them know that you would like their input if there is a problem, they tend to be more receptive to the idea of a VR. Maybe if you reach out to them, then they may be more accepting of your desire to rent out your home. I would also buy them a Christmas Card/present each year as a neighborly gesture.


                  My neighbors are all aware that my home is a VR and can call me anytime there is an issue that they are uncomfortable with. After all, they do live there full time and so we need to think about how that might be if the shoe was on the other foot and we were the ones dealing with a VR right in our backyard.


                  My contract is very very strict about the use of my home and the consequences of non-compliance. I think that it is just a good idea to cover all your bases.