PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Thursday, a Florida Senate Committee will consider a new bill impacting short-term vacation rental properties, an issue that will have a big impact on our Tampa Bay area beach towns.
It’s called Senate Bill 280, and it’s already getting pushback.
Indian Rocks Beach leaders sent a letter to state senators on the committee taking up this bill today. Mayor Joanne “Cookie” Kennedy told ABC Action News they want to make it clear they do not support the bill, saying it takes away power from city government.
“We saw the bill and were just gassed at this bill being brought up after the conversations that we had,” Mayor Kennedy said. “It affects local governments, and I don’t know why this continues to happen.”
The conversation around regulating short-term rentals is nothing new in Pinellas County beach communities. That’s why a new Senate bill introduced by a state senator from Pinellas County is causing frustrations for Indian Rocks Beach for Kennedy.
Last summer, the City of Indian Rocks Beach created a new ordinance with rules for rental owners and occupants to follow. Kennedy said Senate Bill 280 takes the power to regulate rentals away from the city and gives it to the state.
Another concern she mentioned is that the bill only allows local jurisdictions 15 days to review and approve a registration application.
She said the proposed statute puts a $150 limit on rental registration. Mayor Kennedy explained that the city thinks registration costs should correlate with the costs of the administration but said these limitations negatively impact the ability of the city to fund and manage short-term rental registration programs.
“Many elected officials throughout Pinellas County believe we already have the tools, and this is going to take our authority away from us to be able to regulate and inspect short-term rentals,” Kennedy said.
State Senator Nick Diceglie filed the bill. We reached out to him but have not heard back.