Hotel Houses/Illegal Rentals

Sarasota County and Siesta Key Overlay District (SKOD) regulations dictate that property in a  Residential Single Family(RSF) district cannot be rented more frequently than every 30 days.    While there are varying viewpoints on the exact interpretation of this, it is clear that daily and weekend rentals violate these regulations.  Despite this, residents are using online services such as AirBnB to rent their properties under terms prohibited by current regulations.

This has become particularly disturbing with the advent of “Hotel Houses.”  These residences have been built or remodeled with a large number of bedrooms and are generally advertised to sleep 10 or more people.  They are businesses that are run like hotels.  The large numbers of renters with frequent turnover create havoc in quiet residential neighborhoods.  Late-night noise, overflowing garbage cans, illegal parking, rat infestation are a few of the common disturbances. Some neighbors find conditions so unbearable that they sell their dream home and move to “get away.”    It is wrong that these long-time residents are pushed out!

SKA is collaborating closely with Sarasota County Code Enforcement.  Prosecuting these cases has proven very difficult.  SKA advises residents to use the following guidelines to report illegal rental activity in their neighborhood.  Do not violate anyone’s privacy or safety.

GUIDELINES for REPORTING ILLEGAL RENTALS

  • For an EMERGENCY, call 911.
  • For a disturbance (illegal parking, excessive noise, or threatening behavior), call the Sheriff’s non-emergency number: (941)316-1201.  If you request onsite assistance from the Sheriff, try to talk with them when they arrive. Verify the complaint number with the Sheriff.  Later, you can phone and request a copy of the police report. Verify it.
  • Phone non-emergency rental complaints to the Sarasota County Call Center (941) 861-5000, M-F 8 am to 5 pm to record an official complaint.  See-Click-Fix does not generate an official County Code Enforcement record.
  • Provide the EXACT street address of the property for the complaint to be logged properly. Be sure to include Drive, Lane, Place, etc.
  • State the nature of the complaint. If you have documentation, you will be given an email address where you can send it.
    • Hard evidence includes a copy of a lease for less than 30 days or an image of an online ad that advertises less than 30 day rentals for single-family residential property.
    • Corroborating evidence could be photos showing multiple check ins during the month, videos of loud/intrusive behavior, cars parked in no-parking areas, garbage overflowing on non pickup days, etc.

All calls are logged by the County Call Center, so after stating your complaint, ask for the log or report number. You will need this number for follow up later, and the number will prove that a complaint has been entered. The ability to eventually fine/stop landlords requires hard evidence and corroborating evidence. It is a very long process that Code Enforcement officials must follow; we can help them do their job with an orderly record of the complaints.