and Video Courtesy of Channel 6 -- Orlando
By Mike Holfeld
June 4, 2016
Residents in unincorporated Seminole County are
launching a grassroots effort to regulate Airbnbs in Seminole County and
across central Florida.
Tom Alderson , who has lived in the Longwood neighborhood off of Lazy
Acres Lane for 40 years, said there was no discussion or written notice
when strangers started to show up at the home next door to his.
out the house by the room, they’ve rented out the barn
by the room,” Alderson said.
“The thing that concerns me most of all is we don’t know
who is next door.”
County records show that the home at 315 Lazy Acres Lane
was purchased last November.
The owners are listed as Luo Shengwen and Han Xiao Fang.
Neighbors said at least one of the investors lived in
the home with his family for a few months before leaving
for his home in Bejing, China.
The home is listed as a single-family waterfront
property, not a vacation rental property.
"The county does not regulate vacation rentals advertised on Airbnb,"
said Rebecca Hammock, Seminole County's planning and development
division manager. However, she said, “a true bed and breakfast is
regulated by zoning.”
|According to Hammock, the state
passed a law in 2011 that any jurisdiction that did not
already have regulations in place for the operation of
vacation rentals “was prohibited from restricting the use of
homes as vacation rentals.”
Hammock said that leaves the opening for Airbnbs in Seminole
“Since the county did not have any regulations at the time,
we cannot prohibit the use of a home or a portion of a home
as a vacation rental," she said.
Orlando real estate attorney Moses Dewitt said
that while the state has a statute in place to address short term-term
rental properties, the question of taxes and licensure have not been
addressed in every county.
“This Airbnb is
more of a unique animal at this point. There just haven’t been laws that
have adapted to address it,” Dewitt said.
Residents said the idea that strangers are driving through their
neighborhood is unsettling.
Diana Rodolfo has lived in the neighborhood for the last 12 years. Her
home backs up to the rental property. She calls it a violation of
security. “I deal with no privacy now,” Rodolfo said. ”I walk through my
backyard now and people are staring at me.”
WKMG-TV checked Airbnb.com and found the property listed on the site,
along with photographs and a room-by-room description of the
Depending on where you live in Florida, homeowner can use a home as an
Airbnb rental property.
There are exceptions, including homeowners' association communities that
prohibit “short-termrentals.” Orange County enforces code violations,
with more than 20 Airbnb complaints documented over the last few weeks.
In Miami Beach, vacation and short-term rentals are prohibited in all