Skip to content

Legislations limiting homeowners’ right to rent in the US and abroad

July 23, 2010

In these difficult times we tend to educate ourselves and read about laws which have been passed or contemplated in other US cities and abroad to limit the ability of homeowners to rent short term.

I’d like to introduce myself, my name is Marie Reine Jézéquel and I am the owner and founder of New York Habitat, a company that offers vacation rentals, furnished apartments and rooms for rent in New York, Paris, London and the South of France , one of many companies that will be greatly and adversely affected if the proposed legislation banning rentals under 30 days passes.

Last May, I attended the HomeAway Owner’s Summit in Austin. Homeaway had prepared discussion panels raising awareness on a lot of subjects so that owners could get informed about issues facing vacation rental owners and enhance the marketing of they property. One topic on the agenda was: Protecting Your Property Rights.

They had a panel of speakers informing the audience on this important issue: The speakers were homeowner Stephen Milo, attorney Richard Rumrell [the following blog regarding property rights is hosted by Richard Rumrell: http://blog.rumrelllaw.com/propertyrights] and HomeAway co-founder Carl Shepherd.

Little did I know that New York would now be faced with this very issue, with proposed legislation banning vacation rentals of under 30 days now awaiting the Governor’s approval.

During the Homeaway Q/A session, a Venice Florida case was presented where homeowner Stephen Milo had successfully won a battle with his municipality.

The city of Venice Florida agreed to pay Milo’s group $300,000 in settlement for attorney fees and the diminution in value of properties, and allow the dozen property owners who brought suit to continue renting their properties on a short term basis for 15 more years. [A press release dated August 2009 regarding the settlement reached can be seen at: http://www.prleap.com/pr/139147]. [See the complaint filed by Stephen Milo and eight other plaintiffs against the City of Venice, Florida: [http://www.veniceflorida.com/features/pdf/short-term-filedcomplaint.pdf]

A young eloquent man by the name of Justin Butterworth [https://www.occupancy.com] [http://www.takeabreak.com.au/profiles.htm] then took the microphone and explained his tale on this same subject to a very attentive audience. You could have heard a pin drop as everyone listened intently to him speak about how he is addressing similar issues in Australia.

He said “property owners have nothing to fear from the quality of their service or property presentation, the only thing they should fear is their own inaction. Property owners must work together to present data showing the net benefits and minimal disturbances rather than engaging in emotional debate.

Justin continued to suggest 3 questions:
–  First, what is the nature and number of disturbances?
–  Second, what is the net economic benefit to the community in terms of jobs, tourism and social contributions?
–  and third, is legislation required or can the industry through best practice guidelines and self regulation meet stakeholder needs?

Justin has opened discussion and engaged the Planning Department, State Tourism bodies, Local Councils, other major website portals, Real Estate Agent associations, consumers and property owners, as well as the media.  While the issue is far from resolved, a more informed discussion has developed in Australia.

When his company Rent-A-Home.com.au later won the 2006 Telstra Business Award, awarded by the Australian government for his innovative online technique and outreach, he used the platform to ask them to reconsider their position on vacation rental bans.

Justin recounted his tale to the group of HomeAway vacation rental owners gathered at this conference last May and advised everyone to team up and get involved before and after the law passes. The strength of an owner community can really make a difference. With the Internet, owners groups are now springing up to protect their rights and choose how long they will rent their property out for.

Marie-Reine Jézéquel
CEO & Founder
New York Habitat

I’d like to introduce myself, my name is Marie Reine Jezequel and I am the owner and founder of New York Habitat, www.nyhabitat.com, a company that offers vacation rentals, furnished apartments and rooms for rent in New York, Paris, London and the South of France.

> > Last May, I attended the Homeaway Owner’s Summit in Austin.

> >

> > Homeaway had prepared discussion panels raising awareness on a lot

> > of subjects so that owners could get informed about issues facing

> > vacation rental owners and enhance the marketing of they property.

> >

> > One topic on the agenda was: Protecting Your Property Rights

> >

> > They had a panel of speakers informing the audience on this

> > important

> > issue: The speakers were homeowner Stephen Milo, attorney Richard

> > Rumrell [the following blog regarding property rights is hosted by

> > Richard

> Rumrell:

> > http://blog.rumrelllaw.com/propertyrights] and HomeAway co-founder

> > Carl Shepherd.

> >

> > Little did I know that New York would now be faced with this very

> > issue, with proposed legislation banning vacation rentals of under

> > 30 days now awaiting the Governor’s approval.

> >

> > During the Homeaway Q/A session, a Venice Florida case was presented

> > where homeowner Stephen Milo had successfully won a battle with his

> municipality.

> > The city of Venice Florida agreed to pay Milo’s group $300,000 in

> settlement

> > for attorney fees and the diminution in value of properties, and

> > allow the dozen property owners who brought suit to continue renting

> > their

> properties

> > on a short term basis for 15 more years. [A press release dated

> > August

> 2009

> > regarding the settlement reached can be seen at:

> > http://www.prleap.com/pr/139147]. See the complaint filed by Stephen

> > Milo and eight other plaintiffs against the City of Venice, Florida:

> > [http://www.veniceflorida.com/features/pdf/short-term-filedcomplaint

> > .pdf ]

> >

> > A young eloquent man by the name of Justin Butterworth

> > [https://www.occupancy.com]

> > [http://www.takeabreak.com.au/profiles.htm]

> then

> > took the microphone and explained his tale on this same subject to a

> > very attentive audience. You could have heard a pin drop as everyone

> > listened intently to him speak about how he is addressing similar

> > issues in Australia.

> >

> > He said ‘property owners have nothing to fear from the quality of

> > their service or property presentation, the only thing they should

> > fear is their own inaction.

> > Property owners must work together to present data showing the net

> benefits

> > and

> > minimal disturbances rather than engaging in emotional debate.’

> >

> > Justin continued to suggest 3 questions ‘First, what is the nature

> > and number of disturbances? What is the net economic benefit to the

> > community

> in

> > terms of jobs, tourism and social contributions? and third, is

> > legislation required or can the industry through best practice

> > guidelines and self regulation meet stakeholder needs?’

> >

> > Justin has opened discussion and engaged the Planning Department,

> State

> > Tourism bodies, Local Councils, other major website portals, Real

> > Estate Agent associations, consumers and property owners, as well as

> > the media.  While the issue is far from resolved, a more informed

> > discussion has developed in Australia.

> >

> > When his company Rent-A-Home.com.au  later won the 2006 Telstra

> > Business Award, awarded by the Australian government for his

> > innovative online technique and outreach, he used the platform to

> > ask them to reconsider

> their

> > position on vacation rental bans.

> >

> > Justin recounted his tale to the group of Homeaway vacation rental

> > owners gathered at this conference last May and advised everyone to

> > team up and

> get

> > involved before and after the law passes. The strength of an owner

> community can really make a difference. With the Internet, owners

> groups are now

> > springing up to protect their rights and choose how long they will rent their property out for.

From → Uncategorized

4 Comments
  1. fluot permalink

    hi!!!

  2. Amy McDermott permalink

    Contact: Steven Gieseler, 888-202-2402
    sgg@gieselerlaw.com
    Property Owners Sue City Over Short-term Rental Ordinance’s Shortcomings
    * City Continues to Flounder In Flood of Legal Setbacks, Costs *
    February, 2011, Venice Florida — Venice’s ordinance banning short-term rentals has sparked a multi-family lawsuit against the city over private property rights, and the outcome could have implications for other communities. The lawsuit represents the latest lightning bolt in a lingering storm of legal setbacks for the city, which just lost an appeal by property owner Martha “Marty” Gwynn three months ago. Previously the city lost a landmark lawsuit to Steve Milo in 2009. The city’s efforts to stop short-term rentals continue to make property-rights case law in Florida.
    The latest property rights lawsuit involves six families who were not part of Milo’s suit, but who also owned and rented their property on a short-term basis (less than 30 days more than three times annually) prior to when the ordinance went into effect in July, 2009. All of these owners have the required licenses.
    “This lawsuit is about more than just these owners’ right to make reasonable, constitutional use of their property,” said attorney Steven Gieseler of Gieseler & Gieseler, the firm representing the group. “It lets government officials everywhere know they are bound to act within principles larger that their own preferences.”
    The city claims all of the owners currently involved in the suit had a chance to be grandfathered in when the ordinance first went into effect in July, 2009. But, the families say the city failed to give clear direction on how to get grandfathered in or a deadline for doing so, and made it prohibitively expensive.
    “It felt like we were all being deceived. We tried to get grandfathered in but the steps were never clearly explained, then when we called with more questions about the process the city quickly told us we were ‘too late’ in 2009,” commented an owner who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of backlash. “Yet an owner not listed on Milo’s lawsuit was grandfathered in a year later, in the summer of 2010.”
    In City Council meeting notes at the time, several city councilors admitted the ordinance was rushed through without a proper transition period. “It’s like driving down a road with no posted speed limit,” Gieseler said. The city never notified owners what they specifically would need to do to comply with the new law, explained Grady Huie, a Venice attorney.
    Vacation Rental Managers Group Wins Sprinkler System Exemption
    One major complication with attempting to get grandfathered in 2009 was the requirement to put in an extremely expensive sprinkler system which can cost up to $29,000 per vacation house. A year later in July 2010, the Florida Vacation Rental Managers Association representing one of this region’s fastest growing industries, short-term vacation homes, scored a major victory by convincing lawmakers to exempt them from the costly new fire regulation. After months of lobbying, the association was able to convince the Florida Legislature to pass a bill exempting them from rules requiring anyone who converts a single-family home into a vacation home to have a sprinkler system.
    “It’s super expensive,” added state Rep. Mike Horner, R-St. Cloud, who played a key role in getting the bill passed. “The vacation rental industry is one sector of the hospitality industry that is doing very well. The last thing we want to do is put a damper on their success.”
    With the sprinkler system requirement finally lifted, the property owners involved in the current lawsuit tried again to get grandfathered with the help of their attorney in the Fall of 2010 but the attorney for the City of Venice ultimately refused to work with them.
    Fight Has Attracted National Attention
    The Pacific Legal Foundation, a national non-profit property rights advocacy organization based in Sacramento, California, has previously weighed in on the dispute over vacation rentals in Venice and will soon hightlight the current case on its highly regarded legal blog. The Foundation’s East Coast office, located in Stuart, Florida, aided Steve Milo’s successful legal team in their landmark property rights lawsuit win.
    The owners involved in the current suit feel the short-term rental issue has been blown out of proportion. Since 2005, a handful of vocal neighbors have complained about noise, trash and parking when the first short-term rentals were discovered prompting the city to address it, but many other residents haven’t had an issue with it and see the tourism benefits.
    “Our tenants are extremely well-vetted as they are staying in our home, our neighborhood and our town. The typical renters are older couples looking for a quiet place near the beach with great restaurants and shopping, yet relaxed and beautiful,” explained property owner Mary Altier. “We feel that keeping the businesses going strong in the summer and fall is as important for us as it is for the city. We have neighbors keeping an eye on the house and its occupants and two doors down is our rental agent and handyman.”
    The property owners fight with the city could be extremely expensive for Venice, which has already spent a considerable amount in outside legal costs in addition to the $300,000 Milo settlement. The amount the city spent on losing legal battles was a hot issue in Venice’s November election. Many of the newly elected ran on pro-tourism platforms. Newly elected Mayor John Holic and council members Jeanette Gates and Bob Daniels all campaigned on stopping city lawsuits.
    Appellate Judge Rules City’s Ordinance Unconstitional for Gwynn in November, 2010
    The same month as the Venice election, property owner Marty Gwynn accused of violating the city’s rental ordinance won her appeal. Twelfth Judicial Circuit Judge Charles E. Roberts ruled on November 3, 2010 that Martha L. Gwynn, who rents a home on Darling Drive in Venice was denied her constitutional rights because a new ordinance banning rentals of less than 30 days more than three times annually was implemented without compensating her. The city appealed in December and is waiting for the resolution.
    “Ms. Gwynn was pleased with the decision of Circuit Judge Charles Roberts, which finds that the City’s vacation rental ordinance, as applied to Gwynn, resulted in an unlawful taking without compensation,” said attorney Valerie Fernandez who represented Gwynn. “We are confident that Judge Roberts followed the essential requirements of law, and believe that appellate court will quash the City’s petition for certiorari.”
    The ruling puts local governments on notice that they cannot just end property owners’ rights without compensating them, Fernandez explained. “It is important globally because a court has recognized that the ability to continue renting short-term is a property right that should be recognized.”
    “The ordinance is inoperative as it relates to Ms. Gwynn’s property, and we stressed to the city that we could take legal action to have a court declare the rest of our group is similarly situated,” Gieseler said. “The city attorney has informed us enforcement of the ordinance is suspended until resolution of the appeal.”
    Milo Wins Short-term Rental Rights & $300,000 Settlement in 2009
    Before the new ordinance went into effect in 2009, the city tried arguing its code didn’t allow for such rentals. A judge overturned a 2008 administrative order by the city that short-term rentals were prohibited by implication under city code. After losing at each juncture of the Milo lawsuit, the city put an end to a costly battle with a property owner Steve Milo with a settlement which required the city to pay Steve Milo and a group of investors $300,000 in legal fees and allowed the property owners to continue renting their dozen local properties for 15 more years.
    Andrea Zelman, an attorney for the city at the time explained she tried to narrow the time Milo and his partners could continue to rent, but the money they wanted “skyrocketed” to compensate them for the loss of rentals. She urged the city to approve the settlement or go back to court to defend itself against Milo’s charges that officials targeted his properties and violated his civil rights. The city then unanimously approved the settlement. While Milo’s group recovered money and retained their rental rights, other Venice property owners lost their rental rights.
    The judge told the city it had to adopt an ordinance that specifically prohibits the rentals if it wanted to go that route. In addition to the $300,000 Milo settlement, the city spent more on attorneys and consultants to craft a new ordinance which the City Council passed in July, 2009, which is now under fire.
    Few Florida governments have laws regulating rentals for less than 30 days and those that have elected to enact ordinances have run into legal hurdles. Many other cities have found ways for short-term rentals and year-round residents to peacefully co-exist to benefit everyone. Cities can greatly benefit from additional tax revenue; owners can continue to improve properties and avoid foreclosure with rental income; and the residents can lose some of their tax burden to the tourists.
    # # #

  3. Dyan Spradling permalink

    Great blog! I actually love how it is simple on my eyes along with the info is well written. My business is wondering generate an income might be notified any time a health post has been manufactured. We have subscribed to your feed which have to do the key! Use a nice day!

  4. cpourquier permalink

    Félicitations . This is an incredible and powerful Blog. This whole experience is transforming all of us . Very good !!! You have a fan and a follower.
    Christophe.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: