Proposed Rental Ordinance Update? | Page 7 | SoWal Forum - South Walton Florida
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scooterbug44

SoWal Expert
May 8, 2007
16,736
3,327
Sowal
I can understand why the weddings are a big economic issue, but the occupancy still has me confused.

They seem pretty reasonable.

I've been Googling and it seems that many vacation areas have similar rules about how many people can occupy a unit. :dunno:
 

Matt J

SWGB
May 9, 2007
22,400
2,593
I can understand why the weddings are a big economic issue, but the occupancy still has me confused.

They seem pretty reasonable.

I've been Googling and it seems that many vacation areas have similar rules about how many people can occupy a unit. :dunno:

IIRC it's also a fire code that the total number of people in a rental cannot exceed the number it sleeps. That of course only applies to inside the unit.

I would venture to guess that areas that just happen to have wedding facilities are probably behind this ordinance i.e. Sandestin, Rosemary, Seaside, Watercolor, etc. Follow the money as that is what this is about. If you restrict it to areas equipped for it you've just boosted their asking price and created a premium commodity. Of course that doesn't always mean that you'll have a demand for it.
 
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lenzoe

Beach Fanatic
I agree this proposed ordinance is ridiculous. There are hundreds if not thousands of small rental units on 30A that currently advertise for and sleep more than this ordiance would allow and have been doing so forever. Just one example, there are about 80 units at Hidden Beach villas that quite comfortably sleep 4 people each. This ordinance would reduce that down to a maximum of 2 the way I understand it. It's small, but it's still larger than your average hotel room that routinely sleeps 4. Owners of these units have been doing this since at least the 1980s without harming any neighbors.

I totally agree with WaltonIsOne. If noise and disturbing neighbors is an issue, enforce the existing noise and parking ordinances. I don't rent properties to beyond what they're capable of handling as that's bad for the property. If one of my neigbors gets too noisey, I don't hesitate to call the Sheriff's Office and I tell all my renters to do exactly the same thing. If someone is getting out of line on a beach party, I call them in. Don't come up with an ordinance that's just going to be completely stupid. This is very irresponsible.

If you're trying to give wedding business to a select few cronies, don't screw every other small rental owner in the process.

I strongly advise against trying to turn this into a locals vs. rental owners issue. This will hurt everyone.
 

Matt J

SWGB
May 9, 2007
22,400
2,593
I'm surprised that some of the commercial interests haven't stepped up. Embassy Suites in Miramar beach would be affected by this. There suites that sleep 4 would suddenly become 2 only suites. Seems like that would cause a huge impact for them.
 
Some aspects of this ordinance don't make sense to me. For example, I can rent a room with two double beds for four people and one bathroom at the Ritz-Carlton in Buckhead (Atlanta). Would this be unacceptable under the proposed Walton County ordinance?

On the other hand, I do despise the rentals with 4 bedrooms with multiple sleep sofas that sleep 24. Too many people in one house.

We have set a max of 10 people for our home. I don't want multiple families packing up our home over capacity with people sleeping on sofas and on the floor on air mattresses (this has happened before :pissed:). It leads to more damage because there is no accountability with that many families in one house.

Last summer one rental group had a party at our home because it's so close to the beach. There were 25 people in our pool, plus more in the house. Apparently most of them slept over. My home is a home that we share with guests, not party central. If I had known this when it happened, I would have evicted that group early with no refund. But by the time I heard about it, they were gone.

I personally know of many people who pile up a beachfront, one-bedroom with 4 adults and 6 kids.

So I can see the reason for more strict rules. But don't be stricter than the Ritz-Carlton in Buckhead.
 
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WaltonIsOne

Beach Lover
Nov 14, 2009
88
40
Walton County, FL
Some aspects of this ordinance don't make sense to me. For example, I can rent a room with two double beds for four people and one bathroom at the Ritz-Carlton in Buckhead (Atlanta). Would this be unacceptable under the proposed Walton County ordinance?

On the other hand, I do despise the rentals with 4 bedrooms with multiple sleep sofas that sleep 24. Too many people in one house.

We have set a max of 10 people for our home. I don't want multiple families packing up our home over capacity with people sleeping on sofas and on the floor on air mattresses (this has happened before :pissed:). It leads to more damage because there is no accountability with that many families in one house.

Last summer one rental group had a party at our home because it's so close to the beach. There were 25 people in our pool, plus more in the house. Apparently most of them slept over. My home is a home that we share with guests, not party central. If I had known this when it happened, I would have evicted that group early with no refund. But by the time I heard about it, they were gone.

I personally know of many people who pile up a beachfront, one-bedroom with 4 adults and 6 kids.

So I can see the reason for more strict rules. But don't be stricter than the Ritz-Carlton in Buckhead.

Beachrunner, you are a prime example that shows that the Short Term Rental industry can regulate itself. Short term rental property owners know how to regulate the number of occupants in an effort to look after and protect their own property investments while being concerned about safety. Self regulation like this does not cost the tax payer one thin dime. Other rental owners and agencies told me they do the same thing.

We all know that once in a while, over occupancy situations happen, and in your case, not even Walton County Fire Marshall Bill could have stopped it as the renters slipped away after they had used already overoccupied your property.
 

robertsondavies

Beach Fanatic
Apr 16, 2006
499
27
I'm surprised that some of the commercial interests haven't stepped up. Embassy Suites in Miramar beach would be affected by this. There suites that sleep 4 would suddenly become 2 only suites. Seems like that would cause a huge impact for them.

i think they're exempted as a hotel
 

Matt J

SWGB
May 9, 2007
22,400
2,593
So true, all of what you just wrote. Who is the Walton County TDC director by the way? I conclude the TDC is useless, all they've done is pollute the area with ****ty signs both on the bike path and on 30a.

I say, don't remit the bed tax. Send them tea instead.

For the record the current TDC director didn't order or install the signs, that was a previous regime.

i think they're exempted as a hotel

Um they charge bed tax, why would they be exempt? If that's the case then the TDC has no right telling me what to do with my 4 room hotel with common space. This could even effect some of the other hotels/motels that have, gasp, two double beds as described by BR above.
 

Matt J

SWGB
May 9, 2007
22,400
2,593
Beach Umbrella, Don't know how long you've resided in Walton County and how much you know about this area but I can assure you there is a lot more to us than tourism. Unfortunately we had a lot of folks that moved here in "boom times" and perhaps took on more than they could handle. Wish them the best but why should we kill the goose that has been laying eggs for us for years to satifsfy their greed.

As usual the powers that be are not only protecting the goose, but now they want to jack it up with steroids. Why not have an ordinance that allows the number of people a unit can actually sleep. Sure some folks have packed their units with bunk beds, but those are generally for children. To actually specify how many people can occupy a unit is going above and beyond.

Further having read the ordinance again it only stats square footage. It doesn't state what type of square footage. That leaves it open for interpretation. So if my 4 bedroom 2,000 sq ft home has a 2,000 sq ft porch in addition do I get to sleep more people than the condo owner who only has 2,000 sq ft?
 

Mango

SoWal Insider
Apr 7, 2006
9,712
1,360
New York/ Santa Rosa Beach
As usual the powers that be are not only protecting the goose, but now they want to jack it up with steroids. Why not have an ordinance that allows the number of people a unit can actually sleep. Sure some folks have packed their units with bunk beds, but those are generally for children. To actually specify how many people can occupy a unit is going above and beyond.

Further having read the ordinance again it only stats square footage. It doesn't state what type of square footage. That leaves it open for interpretation. So if my 4 bedroom 2,000 sq ft home has a 2,000 sq ft porch in addition do I get to sleep more people than the condo owner who only has 2,000 sq ft?

What about sheds? I can fit 4 on bunks in mine. :whitetrash:

I don't see this legislation affecting me terribly since I mostly do not exceed the occupancy that would be allowed. I have a 4 bedroom that sleeps 12 in beds (no pull outs, blow ups or bunks) and I do not like more than 12 people. I advertise 10 because I know there will be more.

But, I can foresee problems with this legislation and lots of holes in it. Most of the rental agencies do not count babies/ toddlers in their head count (why for the life of me, I do not know- they still have to bathed, maybe more so than older children- their clothes are generally washed more after they have spilled apple juice on themselves all day or spit up) Personally, I have always counted babies in my head count because it cost me more to house them in power expenses. So, that will have to be ended in the future since the legislation doesn't differentiate between size or age.

Also, you may be following the rules as far as occupancy based on your lease terms, but we all know people bring more on occasion (day visitors included) than the agreed upon lease terms. So, if your neighbors renters know the occupancy, and decide that the larger family is occupying too much of the community pool, or are too noisy for their taste, now suddenly will there be tourists ratting on tourists? and who is responsible if there is a fine? The legislation is vague, to say the least.

But, is there a need for it? Most owners police their own homes or their development may have adopted occupancy rules on their own for the comfort and peaceful enjoyment of their homes and guests; although, there are always a few who really could care less, want the rental regardless what anyone else thinks or how it impacts others.
 
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