Gulfport Short-Term Rental Enforcement
During the April 18 Gulfport City Council meeting, a significant contingent of people attended, represented by a speaker who voiced concerns over misinformation regarding a plan that the City of Gulfport put in place to combat short term rentals (STR). They were concerned that the City purchased a software package from Granicus called “Host Compliance” and hired an additional code enforcement officer with the intent to go after all the illegal STRs in Gulfport.
Clarifying the Process
I wanted to once again clarify the process that Council directed the city manager to put in place and set the record straight. Both the city manager and myself (as I, and others, worked with code enforcement, the city attorney, and the city manager to put together the strategy) said we would not take a draconian approach to code enforcement on STRs and, in fact, would keep it as a complaint-driven initiative.
We stated that a complainant would have to provide evidence that it was an STR. If the police get contacted regarding an infraction (parking blocked, disturbing the peace, altercations, etc.) and the caller said it was a STR, then the Granicus software and code enforcement would come into play.
If the code enforcement officer, through use of the software, deemed that it was, in fact, an illegal STR, then the process of the code violation would commence and could end up in front of the magistrate.
Due to the concern from this group, I posted on Facebook asking those who attended the council meeting and others to contact me. Several people responded; I communicated the above explanation. To reassure them that whatever they’d heard was incorrect, I explained the process. They thanked me for clarifying and allaying their fears. Furthermore, I explained that I am not fan of an overabundance of STRs as they can have a negative impact to the very “community” the STR renters come to visit, but that on a controlled basis STRs do, in fact, contribute positively to the local economy and property values. I reiterated that the Florida state legislature has tied our hands when it comes to any modification to our grandfathered ordinance.