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New ordinance aims to crack down on short-term rentals in Palm Beach County

New ordinance aims to crack down on short-term rentals in Palm Beach County (WPEC)

The Palm Beach County Board of Commissioners made an ordinance aimed to crack down on short-term rentals, their owners and the taxes they pay.

Nancy Eberle and others came to the Palm Beach County Commissioners meeting Tuesday afternoon to fight for Waterway Manor.

They say investors have turned some single family homes into subdivided rentals.

“Our neighborhood is quiet our neighborhood is safe. We’ve been there for 22 years. Never have we experienced this,” Eberle said.

“They’re disrupting our local neighborhoods,” said Paulette Burdick, a Palm Beach County commissioner.

She says she has received many complaints about short-term rentals bringing crime into the community.

“We’ve had a prostitute and a pimp,” Eberle said. “I believe we had a possible child trafficking.”

Eberle says not all vacation renters are bad, but investors can’t oversee their guests.

“We are asking for regulations for investors who come in and break zoning and code regulations to be fined,” she said.

On Tuesday morning, the Palm Beach County Board of Commissioners created an ordinance to ensure vacation rentals register and pay taxes.

“It’s creating an equitable playing field and creating transparency,” Burdick said.

The ordinance calls for short term rental platforms like Airbnb and others to verify that their listers pay taxes and fine those that don’t comply.

“We will know who is supposed to be resides in those facilities," Burdick said. "If there’s some bad characters, then we can perhaps take those next steps."

“If you treat it like a business, it makes it safer for the people that are renting,” Eberle said.

Eberle says she has reported crimes in Waterway Manor to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.

Commissioners had the first reading for the ordinance on Tuesday.

In 30 days, they expect to have the final reading and adoption.

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