N Miami Beach Passes Ordinance Banning Short-Term Rentals

posted Dec 13, 2009, 1:41 AM by Mia Rent   [ updated Sep 21, 2014, 9:32 PM ]

A new city ordinance prohibits homeowners from doing short-term rentals

By Jose Pagliery

In an effort to curtail the short-term leasing of North Miami Beach homes that often end up the site noisy weekend parties, the city passed an ordinance Tuesday forbidding such rentals.

The new measure makes it illegal for the owner of a single family home to rent the house for less than three months at a time. The new rule also prohibits renting out the home more than three times a year.

Those who are currently licensed to do short-term rentals will be grandfathered in, but others face stiff penalties of $250 per day.

City attorney Darcee Siegel said the issue is problematic for residents, because homes are often rented to rowdy partygoers.

"It's a problem, and not only in this city -- in various cities," Siegel said at the meeting.

With a 5-2 vote, the council passed the ordinance, which will prohibit short-term rentals and require those that were grandfathered in to obtain yearly business tax receipts from the city. The only area exempted is the mobile home area located east of Biscayne Boulevard between 135th Street and 145th Street.

City officials urged homeowners seeking to be grandfathered in to contact the city to obtain the permits, which cost $60 per home each year. Those permits can be denied if a home has code-enforcement violations, Siegel said.

Those homeowners who don't get permits and are later caught could face fines of $250 per day and $500 per day for repeat offenses.

The tighter restrictions come just a few months before the Super Bowl comes to Land Shark Stadium -- a stone's throw from the city.

Councilwoman Phyllis Smith noted that many families hit hard by the recession could make upwards of $10,000 for renting out their homes during Super Bowl week.

Still, she voted in support of the ordinance, saying it would give the city a weapon to use against those who seek to turn Eastern Shores, a high-end neighborhood in North Miami Beach, into a district of luxury vacation rentals.

Councilman Philippe Derose echoed her thoughts.

"Single family homes should be single family homes," he said.

Also supporting the ordinance is Guy Tenenbaum, a native of France who moved to North Miami Beach in 2000 and owns a vacation rental business, which will be grandfathered in

"We're happy because if the law did not pass, we'd continue the same way we did for years. We live in the neighborhood, and we don't want Eastern Shores to become a big party house," he said.

Tenenbaum hopes to sell most of his eight North Miami Beach homes -- most of which he bought before the housing market tanked. But the ordinance will still affect him because he plans to keep living in the city, he said.

As of the ordinance's passing, Tenenbaum is one of only two home-rental businessmen who has come forward. The other is Eric Harari, who owns a two-story five-bedroom Eastern Shores home he rents out to vacationers attending Art Basel or other international events.

"For me, it will not change much," he said. "I've paid my taxes since day one."

Officials said they would rely solely on neighbors to report illegal activity. "Our code enforcement is not going to drive around to see whose car is switching," Smith said.

Councilwoman Beth Spiegel, who voted alongside Frantz Pierre against the ordinance, said the rule wouldn't jibe with the nature of North Miami Beach's zoning code -- which doesn't expressly forbid short-term rentals.

"When you change your zoning code to prohibited uses, you turn your zoning code upside down." she said after the meeting.  

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North Miami Beach Passes Ordinance Banning Short-Term Rentals

By David Smiley

A measure that aims to regulate short-term rental properties on Miami Beach has been sent back to the drawing board.

City Commissioners voted Wednesday night against the polarizing proposal, which would create a set of rules for the operation of week-by-week rental apartment and condominium properties in the Collins Waterfront Historic District and parts of North Beach, the North Shore Triangle and the area east of Tatum Waterway.

Commissioners unanimously voted against the measure, saying the proposed ordinance still needs work.

"This ordinance doesn't do it," said Commissioner Deede Weithorn, who worried that North Beach residents weren't allowed enough input and said the ordinance as proposed would create a piecemeal solution for short-term rental properties.

"It does a disservice to the rest of Miami Beach, especially North Beach."

Officials have been weighing the pros and cons of day-to-day and week-by-week rentals since last year, when residents began complaining en masse about noise and code violations created by short-term tenants.

The city's laws ban homeowners from renting their homes for periods of six months or less in areas where hotel use is not permitted. The city is not actively enforcing the law, typically punishing landlords only if a complaint is received.

Earlier this year, the city removed Flamingo Park from the list of neighborhoods that would be allowed short-term rental.

Flamingo Park landlords and residents in the area packed the commission chambers late Wednesday night to argue both sides of the issue.

Eric Harari, who said he owns several buildings and 32 short-term rental units in the neighborhood, said a law banning weekly rentals "would basically destroy my company."

Others said creating a short-term rental district in the neighborhood could cause problems between homeowners, tenants and landlords.

"Please don't make Flamingo Park into an experiment about short-term rentals" said Jack Johnson, co-chairman of the Flamingo Park Neighborhood Association, who urged the commission to keep his neighborhood off the list of places where short-term rentals would be allowed in the city.

Johnson's association voted last June that short-term rentals should be excluded from the neighborhood, save those landlords who have already offered the rentals without causing problems for the community.

As proposed, the ordinance would allow home, apartment and condo owners to rent out their units from six months down to one week, as long as a supervisor remained available by phone 24 hours a day. Owners would also be subject to the city's resort tax and would need to receive a certificate of use and occupancy.

The measure also stated that any apartment or condo building operating as a short-term rental facility would have to meet current code for lodgings or hotels, depending on the amount of units. That could mean costly improvements, such as bringing an elevator up to code or installing a sprinkler system.

The commission sent the proposal back to the city's land use and development committee for tweaking and further discussion.