Vacation Rental or Code Violation?

Seventeen property owners received a letter from Gulfport’s Community Development telling them their practice of renting their homes for short-term rentals (less than one month) violates city code 22-4.02. This was not an agenda item at Tuesday’s regular council meeting, but heard during public comment.

Of the 17 letters sent, not every property owner spoke or attended the meeting. Four Gulfport residents received a letter. Five of the recipients live in St. Petersburg; one, Redington Shores; one, Orlando; one, Georgia; two, Texas; one, Vermont; one, Pennsylvania; and one, Canada.

Gulfport only allows private home rentals for less than a month a time three times in a 12-month period.

Gulfport’s community enforcement officer, Bruce Earling, said he did not know the name of the complainant, who came into the Community Development department to complain and told Earling about the VRBO.com web site.

“In their neighborhood, they saw the cars coming and going. They were comparing the license tags of all the vehicles coming and going,” Earling said. Earling went on the web site and searched for Gulfport, finding 17 homes in violation of city code. He sent those property owners notices of violation on April 9.

In response to those 17 letters, people spoke at Gulfport City Council during Tuesday night’s public session.

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