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Law enforcement needs rental property database

By Rick Catlin, Islander Reporter

Anna Maria Commissioner SueLynn and Island rental property managers Larry Chatt and Mike Brinson have been busy the past few weeks on a “list of best practices” for future rental contracts.

The trio plans to propose that all agents and property owners adopt their terms for seasonal rental contracts.

“I’d say right now we have about 70-80 percent of all rental property managers agreeing to the list,” said Chatt of Island Realty.

When the list of terms is completed, SueLynn will present it to the city commission for input, while Chatt and Brinson will meet with other property managers to get them on board.

Among the best practices is a clause that the tenant agrees to be evicted if they or their guests create loud noise or a late-night party that disrupts the peace and quiet of the residential neighborhood.

Chatt said he and Brinson and many other rental agents have included that clause in their vacation rental agreements for some time, and the few times he’s been called by law enforcement to help quell a loud party, the renters apologized and were cooperative.

There have been two or three times the past several years when Chatt said he had to ask the tenants to leave immediately, but those were rare occasions.

“By far, the vast majority of renters, more than 99.9 percent, want to have peace and quiet and enjoy the Island,” he said. “It’s just that one-tenth of 1 percent who cause all the trouble.”

Chatt said law enforcement would benefit from a database of rental properties managed by owners and various rental agencies.

“The plan is the officer would immediately call the rental agent if a complaint came in about a property managed by that agent or his or her company,” Chatt said.

The agent would then meet law enforcement officers at the problem rental property to address the issue.

Chatt said he realized the database may not be complete, considering some vacation property owners don’t live nearby and don’t retain a property manager.

However, SueLynn said, not being on the database may help identify property owners who are avoiding the 5 percent Manatee County resort tax on rentals of six months or less.

She said she talked with officials in resort tax collections at the Manatee County Tax Collector’s Office, and they are interested in identifying owners or managers avoiding the tax.

Investigators at the resort tax collections office can determine if the resort tax is being paid, or if the rental property is homesteaded, she observed.

The tax collector works with the property appraiser to detect homestead exemption abuse.

SueLynn said the rental agreement will only be effective if all vacation rental property managers and owners implement and enforce the agreement.

If everybody in the vacation property management industry has the same rules and follow the same “best practices,” there will be no excuse for any disturbing the peace incidents, or anyone claiming ignorance of the rules for renters, Chatt said.

The push for strict rental rules began when residents in both Holmes Beach and Anna Maria complained to their cities of loud, late-night parties, trash left at the curb too long and streets crowded by parking.

SueLynn volunteered to work on a “best practices” agreement that all vacation rental property managers and owners — and renters — could endorse and follow.

While there may always be an occasional obnoxious renter or party group, Mike Coleman of Pine Avenue Restoration, said the best way for vacationers to understand Anna Maria Island is not a party destination is word of mouth.

“Let a few people get evicted and people will learn quickly this is not the place for partygoers,” he said.

SueLynn agreed.

“This is not a party destination, but a few people who don’t care about the Island have caused an occasional hiccup. We’re dealing with the problem,” she said.

She recommended the party vacationers “go to Panama City, Fort Lauderdale or South Beach. Just don’t come here.”

One Response to Law enforcement needs rental property database

  1. Ken Kavanaugh says:

    What else is on the “best practices” list so far? Sounds like a good idea, but property rights get involved as well in this situation.

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