NORTH PALM BEACH — Short-term rental owners in North Palm Beach will be required to register their properties and pay a $600 fee annually to operate in the village, according to a Sept. 8 vote by the Village Council.
The vacation-rental registration program will apply to between 20 and 30 property owners in North Palm Beach who rent out their entire homes to visitors. The village hopes the program will curb parking and noise issues.
In August, the village supported a $450 fee per property, which would accompany the registration paperwork due Oct. 1 each year. Due to the amount of code, fire and building inspections the village must complete to run the program, its staff recommended boosting the fee to $600.
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At least one vacation rental owner asked that the fee be waived for existing rentals. Council member Mark Mullinix said he’s heard opposition to the program from the local Realtors association, and asked whether there was a way to lessen the costs for existing owners.
“Even though we may not think of them as small businesses, they really are,” Mullinix said.
But others said the council cannot pick and choose to whom to assess the fee. The fee was considered as a resolution, which means the council can easily adjust the amount in the future.
“I don’t see this as a money-making venture,” council member Susan Bickel said. “But we do need to cover our costs because they are operating a business that is costing us.”
The council approved the new fee unanimously.
North Palm Beach rental registration program requirements
The rental-registration program will require owners to limit the number of people allowed to stay in a home to two people per bedroom and two additional people.
With their registration, owners would be required to limit parking spaces to one per bedroom (maximum of five), provide proof of tourist-development tax payments to Palm Beach County, and designate a person who is available 24/7 by phone and who can be at the home within two hours if there’s an issue.
It also prohibits street and swale parking for rentals. Street and swale parking, or parking in grassy areas between sidewalks and streets, is allowed elsewhere in the village, Mayor Darryl Aubrey said.
Rental owners will need to complete the registration process and pay the fee for every individual rental property they own.
Similar programs in Palm Beach County
North Palm Beach is the latest municipality to adopt a rental-registration program that keeps closer tabs on rental owners and how they’re using their properties.
The program comes on the heels of similar moves by other nearby municipalities, such as Juno Beach and Wellington. Both adopted regulations on vacation rentals to control aspects such as parking and noise.
West Palm Beach has struggled specifically with homes bought by investors and rented out as “party houses,” with some attracting more than 100 people to otherwise quiet neighborhoods in one night.
But the state has limited local governments’ rights to ban rentals outright.
In 2011, Florida House Bill 883 limited governments’ abilities to restrict short-term rentals based on the duration of rental. The bill was in response to the housing market’s downturn, which left many property owners unable to sell. They turned to renting instead.
Some municipalities, such as Palm Beach and Miami Beach, had short-term rental bans that were grandfathered into the legislation and remained in place.
In 2014, the state rolled back some of those limits so that municipalities can set criteria on safety and parking that help rentals be better neighbors.