Winter Park considers new rules on short-term rentals
On Tuesday, Winter Park Town Council discussed proposed short-term rental policies that aim to help the town better regulate lodging concerns, as well as gain a better understanding of their impact to the community.
Recommendations from a town-formed committee suggested annual licensing, rentals have a responsible agent to respond to concerns, requiring certain information be included in advertisements and allowing for the revocation of a license for code or safety violations.
The suggestions closely mirror regulations enacted by other mountain resort communities in recent years.
“What I appreciate about the policy and the recommendations from the group is that it gives us another avenue to ensure compliance and encourage corrective behaviors,” Winter Park Town Manager Keith Reisberg said.
The proposed annual licensing fee in order to legally advertise a short-term rental unit in town would be $150. The license number for each unit would also have to be included in any listings.
In addition to a license, short-term rentals would be required to have a responsible agent available 24/7 to respond to issues at the unit within a certain time frame. The agent could be a property management company or an individual.
Further recommendations included that when rentals apply to the town for a license, they be required to list the occupancy of each unit, and any units that want to host more than 20 people would be directed to apply for a conditional use permit through the town.
Short-term rentals also wouldn’t be able to offer on-street, overnight parking, and the listing would have to include information about the unit’s available parking.
To address more common complaints around noise, trash and nuisances, the proposed policies would allow the town to fine the owner of the property. If too many violations occur, the license could be revoked.
Similarly, the owner would be responsible for burn violations and must have it posted inside the unit if a fire ban is in place.
“Making the property owner become responsible for ensuring compliance is one of the key ways we start to address those problem areas and ensure we have positive guest experiences,” Reisberg said.
The rentals would also have to be compliant with health and safety requirements, such as having working carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.
Council members seemed supportive of the suggested policies. The policies will be in front of council in February with the expectation that if adopted, they could take effect in October.
Winter Park is hosting an open house from 4-6 p.m. Jan. 26 to discuss the draft policies.
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