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DeSantis vetoes vacation rental bill, causing division in Indian Shores Beach

DeSantis vetoes vacation rental bill, causing division in Indian Shores Beach
DeSantis vetoes vacation rental bill, causing division in Indian Shores Beach

INDIAN SHORES BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) – The booming vacation rental business has become a contentious issue throughout the Tampa Bay area.

Many residents feel that their quiet neighborhoods are being overrun by short-term renters and violent guests.

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Florida’s legislature passed a bill giving the state, rather than local governments, the power to control short-term rentals, but Governor Ron DeSantis vetoed the bill.

In one Indian Rocks Beach neighborhood, there are signs welcoming renters. Right next door, there are signs turning them away. Vacation rentals are clashing with residents.

“The neighborhood was once peaceful and safe, but now it is an unregulated and unsupervised hotel and party district,” says John Pfanstiehl, who lives there.

The bill would have shifted regulation of vacation rentals from local to state authorities.

Matthew Barrowclough, a property owner at First Chair Vacation Rentals, hoped the bill would pass.

“It normalized behaviors that cities could engage in,” Barrowclough said. “There couldn’t be one set of rules for your neighbor and one set of rules for yourself.”

Pfanstiehl said some of the restrictions would help ensure safety in his neighborhood.

“We have some very reasonable occupancy limits,” he said. “We have a requirement that they post safety information, such as surf backflow, where local hospitals are and fire department evacuation routes. This law wouldn’t even have allowed us to require that.”

Landlords of rental apartments perceive the current local regulation as discrimination.

“As a property owner, we are currently only allowed to have a certain number of people sleeping in a bedroom. That is now mandated by the Town of Indians Rocks Beach. Now, if my neighbor wants to have her grandchildren here for Christmas, she will put her grandchildren in the one extra bedroom she has and no one will complain,” Barrowclough said.

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