Courtesy of The Panama City News Herald
Published September 14, 2015
PANAMA CITY BEACH — Condominium owners are raising
concerns about a proposed Spring Break ordinance that would require them to
register their units with the city for short-term rentals.
Several have contacted the city to complain about a proposed law that would,
among other things, require them to go through a lengthy registration
process with the city for their short-term rentals and pay a $45
registration fee for each unit. The proposed law, which will be up for a
first vote of the council at its next meeting Sept. 24 at 2 p.m., requires
people who rent out their units 30 days or less to register with the city
and obtain a decal to plaec on the door of their unit.
|To get the decal, the unit owner must
provide 13 pieces of information, including a contract
showing the unit has commercial garbage service and
disclosing the number of full bathrooms in the unit. The
unit owner also must provide their name and contact
information, or the contact information of a responsible
party for the unit in the event police need to contact them
to evict unruly tenants.
The proposed law states the responsible party must be
available by phone 24 hours a day, seven day a week and
“capable of handling any issues arising from the use of the
Hector Solis, who rents out condos and was an outspoken
proponent of a string of ordinances the city passed this
year to tone down Spring Break, said the ordinance would be
going too far if it passes as written. He said it is fraught
with unnecessary requirements, such as a maximum occupancy
requirement for rental units of four people for each
air-conditioned, full bathroom, and a requirement that there
is one trash can for every four occupants.
Traffic backs up along Thomas Drive on March 27 in
Panama City Beach. Some condominium owners are concerned about a
proposed Spring Break ordinance that would require them to register
their units with the city for short-term rentals.
“I’m not against a registration ordinance as far as
registering condos,” he said. “But this is way too much Big Brother when you
start regulating trash cans. It’s just not done right.”
Solis said the ordinance should simply require people to register their
short-term rentals with the city and sign a statement authorizing the police
to evict renters if they are violating laws.
“If they haven’t given that authority, and are not on premises to assist
(police) with an eviction, then their property can be considered a nuisance
property and they can face fines,” Solis said.
Darrell Sellers, a property manager who was the founder of the Panama City
Beach Owners Alliance that advocated the ordinances to tone down Spring
Break, also said the latest proposed ordinance goes too far.
“The reality is something needs to be done,” he said. “Many management
companies and owners are very absentee and not involved in the process
whatsoever. But what the city is proposing is kind of stepping out of
bounds. Some of the issues they are wanting to address can be done at the
property management level.”
The city also has been getting complaints via email by condo owners
concerned about the proposed law.
Debby Renken said in a recent email to the City Council the proposal would
create “a huge administrative nightmare, costing the city and the owner a
ridiculous amount of money, besides being very difficult to enforce.”
“I manage my own condos and do an excellent job,” Renken states in her
email. “I have always been responsible and responsive. I do not believe the
city should institute legislation that takes away my right as an owner to
manage my own condos or create additional expenses that will discourage
people from wanting to buy vacation homes in Panama City Beach.”
Kirti Kandhal, a condo owner at Splash Resort, said in a recent email to the
city that generally speaking, properties managed by owners directly have a
better screening process than those managed by management companies “because
the owner has skin in the game and is more concerned about the damage that
might happen to the property.”
“Instead of penalizing the people who have invested in the growth of the
city and are paying taxes and are interested in the growth of the city, this
ordinance will alienate them,” he writes.