ORLANDO, Fla. - It has been almost a year since Orlando officials laid the groundwork for the city’s short-term rental program, and 9 Investigates learned homeowners refusing to follow the rules are keeping code enforcement busy.
Investigative reporter Karla Ray learned that although more than 130 homeowners have registered their rentals property, others aren’t in compliance, and some are racking up fines in the thousands.
“It really is about showing other people that Orlando is about more than what's out by the theme parks,” short-term rental owner Andrew Chang said.
- Gunman dead, deputy injured after argument over feral cats spurs shootout, sheriff says
- Pennsylvania woman died at same Dominican Republic hotel where couple found dead days later
- Dip your toe in: Island H2O Live water park hosting discounted preview days
- Former Lake Nona martial arts teacher facing 96 counts of sexually battering child
Chang's home is one of more than 130 on the books with the city of Orlando, which requires short-term rentals be registered and that the hosts be on-site in residential neighborhoods, preventing whole homes from being rented out.
“Looking at other cities when they go in and give harsher restrictions, we were really honestly excited to put in what they did and get some of the riff raff out of it,” Chang said.
9 Investigates learned that almost a year into the program, some still aren’t following the city’s rules.
“We didn't have nearly as many as we thought that would want to register, and do it legally, and there's a fair amount we've had to chase around through the code enforcement process,” said Mike Rhodes, the city's deputy director for economic development.
Rhodes said that since December, 260 properties have been taken through the code enforcement process. An online service scrapes the internet for new listings that are in violation of code.
“The frustrating part, I suppose, is people take their listings down, and then they put them back up. And we wind up having to go after them again, so there's been a little bit of chasing our tail we'd rather not have to do,” he said.
There are currently five homes running fines that total more than $73,000 combined.
Chang said he fears continued noncompliance will lead to even tougher rules for those who follow them.
See an interactive map of short-term rentals in the city below:
© 2019 Cox Media Group.