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Rental Dwelling Unit Licensing Program up and running again

By MEGHAN BRADBURY - | Sep 23, 2020

news@breezenewspapers.com

The City Council re-establish the Rental Dwelling Unit Licensing Program with a deadline of Oct. 30 at its Tuesday meeting.

The ordinance, 19-007, was adopted on Oct. 2, 2019 and became effective Jan. 1, 2020. On March 16, the city suspended all deadlines for submissions due to COVID-19 pandemic concerns, followed by the city declaring a state of local emergency relating to the virus outbreak the following day.

As of Sept. 3, 2020, there have been 1,932 advisory letters and applications mailed to holders of existing Business Tax Receipts for property rental within Sanibel.

There have been 1,035 applications submitted to the city:

• 299 approved, issuance of license pending;

• 526 reviewed and determined insufficient with letters to applicants requesting more information;

• 71 under review

• 139 return/refund to applicant pending due to potential reclassification as hotel/motel

Councilwoman Holly Smith said she hopes they can get the program moving and registration back in place as the work has been ongoing during the pandemic.

“It’s time to put this back in motion,” she said.

Councilman Jason Maughan shared concern for those who innocently do not know of the ordinance and the process taking place. He suggested they put a half page ad in the newspapers letting people know if they rent they have to register their property.

Community Services Director Keith Williams said the ordinance is a tool that assists the city to better define the properties. He said they are currently fine tuning the software that is in place in regards to what types of rentals can be in what areas of the island.

Williams said if they receive notice about a potential violation, such as advertisements for illegal rentals, code enforcement comes into play. He said they will contact the management company, or the owner, to gain further evidence if they are compliant.