Flagler Attorney Puts Short-term Rentals on County Radar

County Attorney Puts Short-Term Rentals on Commission Radar

With the 2024 Florida Legislative session underway, local governments are keeping a close eye on issues that impact their communities. One measure of concern to Flagler County Attorney Al Hadeed is a bill filed in the State Senate that would limit home rule authority to regulate short-term vacation rentals.

At a meeting of the Flagler County Commission earlier this month, Hadeed briefed officials on the issue.

“The important part of this bill that affects Flagler County is that it eliminates occupancy limits in single-family neighborhoods,” Hadeed said.

Saying the proposed legislation “does a lot of other things against home rule,” Hadeed singled out the provision ending occupancy limits as a key element.

“If I had to pick out one thing to try and save I think it would be occupancy,” he said. “The attempt to deprive local governments to set occupancy limits in single-family neighborhoods has been a feature of industry bills filed. They have been defeated primarily because of the local communities being very concerned about limiting occupancy limits.”

According to property management software firm DoorLoop, the vacation rental market nationally generated nearly $20 billion in revenue. Its research also showed that short-term rentals are in higher demand in coastal areas than hotels.

Hadeed said the ability of local governments to limit short-term rental occupancy in single-family neighborhoods provides permanent residents with protections.

“When you control the occupancy it reduces excessive on-street parking which can be in some of our neighborhoods a problem,” he said. “It obviously reduces the potential for noise because the large gatherings are limited (and) the bill does take away that ability. To me that is the most significant loss.”

Hadeed urged commissioners when they speak with members of the state legislative delegation and lobbyists to highlight local concerns about the pending legislation.

“They should attempt to preserve the local governments’ ability to limit occupancy in single-family neighborhoods,” he said. “That is the only area where it proves to be problematic.”