Loud Crowd: Fort Lauderdale homeowners fed up with parties at vacation rental

(WSVN) - A South Florida couple moved into a ritzy Fort Lauderdale neighborhood for rest and relaxation. Instead, they were met with a loud crowd at a house across the street. 7’s Kevin Ozebek investigates.

As soon as Daniel and Lori Sisko saw this house, they knew it would make the perfect home for their family.

Lori Sisko, homeowner: “I walked in, and it literally took my breath away.”

On the day the Siskos moved in, there was a party at the home across the street.

Lori Sisko: “My first thought was, ‘Cool, neighbors seem to be nice.'”

But the music thumped throughout the night, and then, on their first weekend in the new house, there was another party.

Daniel Sisko, homeowner: “It was almost concert loud from across the street, so I don’t know if they had a DJ in there or not.”

The Siskos found out the homeowner was renting the house for almost $400 a night on Airbnb.

Lori Sisko: “That’s when I was like, ‘No, no, no, no, like, this is not OK.'”

And the parties have been going on long before Daniel and Lori ever moved there.

Last year, a neighbor tipped the city off that the house was being used as an unregistered vacation rental.

The house has been receiving daily fines ever since, totaling $85,750 that has never been paid.

Lori was stunned.

Lori Sisko: “If you’re going to have codes, if you are going to have rules and laws, enforce them. If you’re going to fine people, make sure they pay the fine.”

Porshia Williams, community inspections manager: “This is something that we take very seriously.”

Porshia Williams works in Code Compliance for the city of Fort Lauderdale. She sends inspectors out to vacation home rentals suspected of not following city regulations.

Porshia Williams: “It’s not a dynamic where the city hasn’t done its due diligence. It’s really the property owner has ignored or is just ignorant to what needs to be done.”

There are currently 42 vacation rentals that owe Fort Lauderdale more than $2.4 million dollars in fines.

The owner of the home on Northeast 27th Terrace was fined $279,000, and 12 units in the hotel and condo tower on Galt Ocean Drive have also been slapped with fees.

Porshia Williams: “As long as we keep pushing, at a certain point we either see compliance, or we see where the use stops.”

Many of the cases end up in court, with the fees turning into liens.

Porshia Williams: “If the property does come into compliance, the property owner could request the lien reduction. The reduction is not guaranteed. We have collections agencies that helps us collect liens and fines.”

The owner of the house next to the Siskos is still ignoring the rules. There is a lien on the property already, and now the city is planning to force the home into foreclosure.

Neighbors hope that will stop the loud crowds from coming back.

An Airbnb spokesperson tells 7News the house next to the Siskos hasn’t been rented through them since August because it has been suspended by the platform.

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