Implement Rental Regulations


The Town’s short term rental (STR) ordinance passed in 2003. It was about preserving healthy and safe neighborhoods while protecting property rights for everyone. Rentals are businesses located in residential neighborhoods. Many of these rentals are operated by absentee owners who are interested in profits more than preserving or protecting residential neighborhoods. That is why in 2003 a code of conduct was defined for rental properties with a mechanism to handle complaints that would make rental agents and homeowners the first contacts. That is why in 2003 a registry was defined that required a property inspection.

The Town has been lax at enforcing the existing STR regulations. This may be because of insufficient staff or the challenges of trying to enforce the regulations without the intended registry for all rental properties. There is no need to “slow down” the current Town Council effort to implement the existing STR ordinance. It has been 15 years.

Will it create an inconvenience for some absentee owners? Yes. Will it cost them a few dollars in profits? Yes. Will it create fair competition for businesses following the regulations? Yes. Will all property rights be protected? Yes. Will implementing STR regulations protect residential neighborhoods? Yes.

That sounds like a win-win-win for the Town, for business and for those who live in Fort Myers Beach residential neighborhoods. It is time to complete implementation of STR regulations.


Tom Babcock
Fort Myers Beach