Gulf of Mexico
Marco Island, Southwest Florida beach views (Collier County, FL)

Editorial: Collier County should enforce ban on short-term rentals of condos, houses

Something never quite added up as the short-term rental debate swirled around Collier County these past couple of years.

We’d hear how the rentals were a growing problem, with neighborhoods far and wide disrupted by the constant comings and goings of people living on vacation time and all that entails.

Then we’d be informed that rentals of less than six months are forbidden by code in all but a few small areas of the unincorporated county.

If they’re against code, how can they be a problem? They shouldn’t even exist.

As it turns out, it was a good question. One asked by Collier County commissioners Tuesday and answered by staff.

None of those changes would grant more latitude to local governments to deal with the situation.

At least one, House Bill 987, would take away all local control and make the entire state subject to guidelines coming out of Tallahassee.

“What kind of state government do we have, for goodness sake?” lamented Commissioner Donna Fiala at one point in Tuesday’s discussion.

One that seems determined to pre-empt local governments on as many fronts as possible, it appears from recent legislative history.

Code enforcement is a complaint-driven process. Although the number of complaints about short-term rentals has more than doubled in the past couple of years, it’s still relatively small, about 90 so far this year.

Passing new, more restrictive, rules is a dicey proposition these days, with the state Legislature in session and considering a half-dozen measures that would change the short-term rental landscape.

Read full opinion . . .