Residents of this Florida community want to keep out short-term rentals

The topic of short-term rentals was the center of discussion Tuesday evening in Indian Harbour Beach.

"I want everybody to have a good time on their vacation, but I'd really like to see them at the hotels," homeowner Sandy Evans said. 

She was one of multiple concerned homeowners in the audience at the city's rec center for a meeting with city leaders and Republican state Sen. Debbie Mayfield. 

Some claim the growing number of rentals is leading to an increase in trash and noise, and it's going unchecked. 

"People are coming and going, and you have no idea who's staying next to your daughter's room or your son's room," homeowner Adam Dyer said.

Local property owners, however, argue examples of some bad experiences shouldn't paint the entire short-term rental community in the city in a bad light.


"I certainly wouldn't want anybody to interfere in my business that I've spent over half a million dollars investing in. I would hope that you guys aren't going to come around and take my hard-earned money," Lori Parker, a short-term rental owner, said.

Right now, because of state law, the city is limited in what it can regulate, like parking and the number of people per room. But even enforcing that isn't easy.

"If we pull up and there's people parking on the street, which they're not supposed to be doing, they're just supposedly visitors of people that are staying, so it's very difficult for our police officers to enforce those rules," Mayor Scott Nickle said.

While a Florida Senate bill to give municipalities more power to suspend or revoke licenses and hold owners accountable failed this legislative session, Sen. Mayfield is hoping to bring the issue back.

"I'm hoping that we can work on it and do a better…compromise that everyone can agree to and get something passed on this session," she said.

Several of the ideas discussed at the meeting included capping the number of short-term rentals in Indian Harbour Beach or requiring owners to live within the city, but at least one, if not both, of those ideas, would require a change in state law.