The Real Deal Miami

Collier may review rules for vacation home rentals

Short-term home rentals abound in Collier County, many in apparent violation of county rules
Collier County bed taxes on vacation homes topped $6.5 million last year.

Collier County bed taxes on vacation homes topped $6.5 million last year.

Collier County commissioners may review rules for rental vacation homes and their enforcement.

Homes and condos available for short-term vacation rental abound in Collier County, many in apparent violation of county rules. But strict enforcement of county rules could shut the door on millions of dollars of tax revenue from such rentals.

“This is something that’s definitely on the radar,” Collier County commissioner Tim Nance told the Naples Daily News, citing concern about vacation homes that attract rowdy guests.

“Businesses are not supposed to be operated in a single-family neighborhood. We have to come to grips with how to police that.”

Florida lawmakers enacted a law in 2011 that prohibits county and municipal governments from “regulating, restricting or prohibiting” the short-term rental of homes. But lawmakers grandfathered-in the rental rules in Collier County and the City of Naples, which remain enforceable.

Naples allows homeowners to rent their properties for fewer than 30 days as many as three times a year. In unincorporated Collier County, homeowners in most neighborhoods are prohibited from renting their properties for less than six months.

Roger Jacobsen, the Naples code enforcement manager, told the Naples Daily News, “We find our share of rentals for less than 30 days, and we don’t write fines. We contact people and educate them as to what the rules are.”

Collier County code enforcement personnel don’t actively seek out owners who violate county rules for short-term vacation homes. Jamie French, deputy administrator of the county growth management division, told the Naples Daily News: “We respond to complaints.”

There are few complaints about the tax revenue that vacation homes generate. Homeowners and hoteliers in Collier County are required to pay the same 4 percent bed tax.

Bed taxes paid by more than 9,600 homeowners amounted to $6.5 million in the Collier County’s last fiscal year, almost a third of the $21.1 million total, according to Rob Stoneburner, the county’s deputy tax collector. [Naples Daily News] Mike Seemuth