There are a number of developments regarding the ongoing problem of vacation or short-term rentals here in Hollywood. I will review each one below:
– Florida Legislative Senate and House Bills: As many of you may already know, each year the Florida Legislature attempts to take away Florida cities' ability to license and regulate this vacation rental cancer. While the State took away our right to outlaw this practice in 2011, the State Legislature did vote to allow cities to regulate the practice in 2014. The HLCA and other residents helped the City of Hollywood create the Vacation Rental Licensing Ordinance, Ord. 119.0 in 2015. This important ordinance was revised and made considerably tougher earlier this year. More on this below. But, luckily for Florida cities, the two Bills that were introduced in the 2021 session earlier this year failed to make it to the floor for a vote. Some of the Committees did pass the Bills mostly on party lines but there was considerable opposition from many cities and residents so the Bills died before the Legislature could vote. Whew . . . we dodged a bullet. But we fully anticipate another attempt next year to take away our ordinance as there is a ton of money from the vacation rental lobby and Airbnb, et.al. flooding into the coffers of these legislators so we must remain vigilant.
– As mentioned above, the City passed a revised version of the Vacation Rental Licensing program earlier this year with the participation of the HLCA and many other Hollywood residents. The changes were major and should bring some relief to suffering Hollywood residents that are seeing our once sacred and purely residential neighborhoods inundated with commercial intrusion in the form of mini-hotels. The loss of housing stock for young families coming into our neighborhoods is probably the worst aspect of this vacation rental cancer. These would-be permanent Hollywood residents can’t compete with the cash buying carpetbagger corporations that are willing to pay top price for homes that they can convert into rental properties. The revised ordinance toughens the penalties and fines for rental abuses such as excessive noise, excessive garbage, parking problems, illegal conversions, too many renters in a house, etc. One very important aspect of the revised ordinance is the requirement that each rental home has a noise monitoring meter installed. This meter will measure the decibel levels 24 hours a day. Should the decibel levels exceed a pre-determined level, the owner/manager is alerted via wi-fi and they must respond. In addition, the City can demand a copy of the meter logs to confirm that violations have or have not occurred. Also, all properties must be inspected by the City BEFORE they can begin renting. This is where the illegal conversion and lack of compliance with the requirements of the ordinance will be discovered. The HLCA thanks the City for improving this ordinance.
– The City of Hollywood has entered into a contract with a third-party company, Granicus, that specializes in software that tracks vacation rentals and offers a single contact phone number for reporting unlicensed rentals and to lodge complaints by residents. If a resident observes violations such as loud music/noise, excessive garbage, illegal activity of any sort, the resident can call the Granicus hot-line and report these violations. Then Granicus will contact the owner/manager who must then respond to the location within one (1) hour to stop the activity or correct the violation. Granicus will be able to submit reports to the City periodically on all the calls they filed so the City can assess if license revocation is warranted for those locations with excess in violation calls. The Granicus program is expected to be ready for roll-out in late June. We will keep you updated.
In the meantime, you can look at the current list of vacation rentals with City licenses at the HLCA website, www.hollywoodlakes.com. Please report any unlicensed locations to us or the City Code Compliance Dept. if you observe rental activity and the address is not on the list.
Dr. Lawrence Shafer
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