(WSVN) - Many people in South Florida choose to live far away from busy, crowded and noisy vacation hot spots, but a new trend is bringing the party to them. 7’s Jeff Lennox has more on this “Neighborhood Nightmare.”
People come for the sand and sun, unlimited entertainment and vast hotels, but for South Florida locals like Suzee Bailey, home should be in a quiet neighborhood away from the vacation action.
Suzee Bailey, Fort Lauderdale resident: “All of the neighbors sort of know each other. We all say hi to each other all the time. It’s a nice, warm community.”
Steve Coleman sees his home as his sanctuary.
Steve Coleman, Fort Lauderdale resident: “I enjoy coming home. It’s my getaway.”
But now, thanks to companies like Airbnb and HomeAway, there are rooms and whole houses up for grabs in quiet residential areas.
Tourists can pick a place to stay and rent it for night, a week or more. The cost is often well below what a hotel would charge.
That’s great for the renter — but often not so great for neighbors.
Steve Coleman: “I am the guy that is being disturbed by the guests. I am not the host of these people.”
Steve says vacationers often have no respect for the people who live and work in his neighborhood.
For Suzee, they come by land and by sea.
Suzee Bailey: “Big, huge yachts coming in with, like, 50 people on them, and they were screaming and yelling. You could hear them four blocks away. You couldn’t even get down the road because there were so many cars parked along the road.”
And they party well into the night. Sometimes the parties are so big, cars line the street.
The loud parties and heavy traffic have people across South Florida complaining to local governments, wondering if they have to put up with these temporary neighbors and what can be done about it.
Matt Little, spokesman, City of Fort Lauderdale: “We have a number of ways to investigate people who aren’t in compliance, and I can’t really tell you what our methods are, but we will find them.”
Local cities like Fort Lauderdale have started passing rules on how these home-based rentals work.
Matt Little: “It’s two persons per sleeping room. The cars have to be able to park on the premises, not in the swale. The noise ordinance doesn’t allow noise in residential areas after 10 p.m.”
But since it is so easy to list properties for rent, it’s hard for local governments to keep up with them.
A number of cities in both Miami-Dade and Broward counties are trying to regulate the rentals. But a law passed in Miami ended up with the city being sued by Airbnb and some of its hosts for trying to restrict their ability to make money off their homes.
So where does that leave homeowners? Steve and Suzee say they will continue to try and keep this neighborhood nightmare at bay.
Suzee Bailey: “It’s not saying ‘don’t rent,’ but let’s have strict rules that will protect the owner that’s renting, that will protect the individuals that live here, that have families. ”
Earlier in May, the Florida legislature passed a bill that prevents cities and counties in Florida from imposing any new restrictions on vacation rental homes. It looks like this issue isn’t going away anytime soon.
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