Vacation Rental Rules Change Again

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Non-Floridians OK with Conditions

On Thursday afternoon, less than 24 hours after announcing that Lee County’s plan for opening vacation rentals had been approved by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), the county announced that the plan had been amended and would now allow out-of-state rentals with the condition that the renters were not coming from a state with a high rate of COVID-19.

The original plan limited vacation rentals through June 18, 2020 to Florida residents only. After that, rentals would be prohibited to people “traveling internationally or from a state or locality with a substantial community spread of COVID-19.”

Thursday afternoon’s amended announcement of ”minimum standards for vacation rentals”  still bans international guests, but allows rentals to non-Florida residents providing their state rate of COVID-19 cases is below 700 per 100,000 population as listed on a Center for Disease Control website: cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/index.html or this shorter link: bit.ly/isp194  The use of the phrase, “reservations and stays” seems to imply that rental agents would need to check the renter’s home state COVID-19 rate at both the time of reservation and arrival for their stay. Gone from the plan is any mention of 30 days.

As of Thursday, states with COVID-19 rates higher than 700 per 100,000 population include New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Michigan, Illinois, Connecticut, Maryland, Louisiana, Rhode Island, Delaware and Washington, D.C.. The Florida rate is 222.9 per 100,000. Though the rules don’t specify county rates, Lee County’s rate is 200/100k; Miami-Dade 590/100k, Liberty 2,382/100k, Hamilton 1,060/100k, Orange(Orlando) 123/100k and Hillsborough(Tampa) 116/100k.

In a Lee County press release, the reason for the amended plan came down to county staff being able to see other county plans. “Some of them use language that does a much better job of capturing the spirit of the statements made by Gov. DeSantis during his press conference on Friday, May 15, regarding out-of-state reservations,” County Manager Roger Desjarlais said

Thursday’s amended version of Lee County’s minimum standards regarding out-of-state reservations:

Pursuant to Executive Order 20-123 signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis on May 15, and effective immediately, the following amended measures are required as minimum standards for vacation rentals throughout Lee County that are accepting reservations and guests for any length of stay (see the strikethrough language replaced with the underlined language): 

  • Should open and operate for in-state reservations only (i.e. only Florida residents.)
  • Vacation rentals reservations and stays will be allowed from all U.S. states with COVID-19 case rates less than 700 cases/100K residents. COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population by state can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/index.htmlthen hover your curser over the vacationer’s state of residence. A box will open with information including cases per 100,000 population.
  • ShouldShall prohibit rentals to persons traveling internationally. or from a state or locality with a substantial community spread of COVID-19.
  • Shall allow adequate time between the conclusion of a guest stay and the check-in of the next guest stay for appropriate cleaning and sanitation.
  • Shall clean and disinfect all frequently-touched surfaces in the property between each guest stay.
  • Shall wash all linens, dishware, and other service items available for use by guests between each guest rental.
  • Shall provide sufficient soap and surface sanitation supplies for guests to utilize in the vacation rental property during the guest’s rental period.
  • Shall ensure adequate safety protocols are in place and publicly displayed, in line with CDC guidance, regarding shared or multi-residence amenities such as pools, gyms, and other communal spaces. 

 Enforcement and regulation falls under DBPR, which has an Emergency Information Page at www.myfloridalicense.com/emergency.