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Sarasota Senator wants to end short-term rental restrictions statewide



City and county governments would no longer be able to stop homeowners from renting their homes for less than a month or even just a week, under legislation a Sarasota Republican has filed.

Currently cities and counties have varying rules statewide on rental properties, particularly on beachfront communities. Some areas bar homeowners from renting their homes for less than 6 months at a time. Others allow for 1 month rentals. Yet others allow weekly rentals.

State Sen. Greg Steube said it makes no sense to have a patchwork of laws that infringe on private property rights. Steube said if a person wants to rent out their home for just one week and the home is in a area with zoning that allowed for it, then it should be allowed.

Steube said he and his wife were recently looking to invest in a home in Flagler Beach to rent out. But he said they were told rules there would not allow them to rent out the property for less than 6 months at a time.

“It’s a private property rights issue to me,” Steube said.

Steube’s bill follows up on similar legislation that passed in 2014 that barred cities and counties from restricting duration of rentals if they didn’t already have a law in place - that essentially grandfathered municipalities who had older ordinances to keep restricting rentals. But Steube wants those grandfathered rules eliminated too.

His bill comes at a time some communities, like in Pinellas County, are pushing the Legislature to go the other way and allow them to once again impose minimum limits on how long property can be rented. At the Pinellas County delegation meeting earlier this month, lawmakers heard from officials from Indian Rocks and Redington Beach who say the state needs to give them authority to stop the weekly turnover that comes with shorter rentals.