Friday, January 28, 2022

LTE: Request to Reconsider the Proposed Rental Ordinance



To: City of Marco Island Council Members

After reviewing the most recent draft of the proposed Rental Ordinance 15-01, I am providing the following comments, and request that the Council seriously reconsider the scope of the proposed ordinance.

The noise and nuisance problem that Council is attempting to address is limited to a small number of single family homes that are rented for less than 30 days. In addition, ordinances already exist to address noise, parking, and occupancy, and these ordinances apply to all Marco residents regardless of whether they own or rent the property they occupy. The proposed ordinance is extensive and represents unnecessary over-regulation. Enforcement of the existing ordinances with the specific offending property residents is all that is needed.

Condominium associations already have very effective controls in place and the proposed ordinance would not add any value. They are already subject to fire code inspections and have not been part of the defined problem that Council is trying to address. The blanket registration is not a viable option because it adds unnecessary burden to the condominium administrators. Since the condos are not part of the problem, they should be excluded from the ordinance scope.

Prior to approving any ordinance, Council needs to fully understand implementation details, including the option to suspend and reinstate rental activity over the course of the year, and provide a clear option to suspend the requirement for a designated contact when the unit is not occupied by a renter. Re-inspections and fees should not apply to resumption of rental activity if no modifications to the property have occurred and the annual inspection is still current. The detailed implementation plan, including administration staffing and any website development must be in place before the ordinance is declared effective.

The requirement to provide documentation to the city within one hour of response to a complaint is unreasonable, and city staff will likely not be available to receive it after hours. A one-day requirement would be more appropriate.

Since the defined problem is associated with rentals of less than 30 days, the scope should be reduced to rentals of less than 30 days. It is unreasonable for Council to add unnecessary burden to the vast majority of landlords that are not associated with the problem properties.

When the City of Marco Island was created and most governance was shifted from Collier County, I was concerned that the change would result in excessive rule-making and a tendency for over-regulation. I continue to maintain this concern, and consider the excessive scope and burden of the proposed ordinance to be an example of unneeded regulation. Enforcement of existing ordinances as they apply to the occupants of the problem properties is sufficient.

It is expected that an effective Council only create or modify regulations when it is absolutely necessaryand in the best interest of the vast majority of all Marco Island Residents. The proposed rental  ordinance, at least as written, does not meet this requirement. It goes far beyond what is needed to address the specific nuisance properties.

Council members are requested to carefully consider the above points when addressing the proposed rental ordinance in Council meetings. As part of this consideration, Council should repeatedly reflect on the problem statement, and limit the scope of the remedy to the specific problem at hand (i.e. unresponsive occupants of certain single family homes rented for less than 30 days that are ignoring existing ordinances).

Thank you for your consideration,

Larry Freeland
Marco Property Owner

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