Fort Myers Beach council holding final meeting on short-term rentals Monday

Paying to rent out your own property is a notion that has renters and landlords alike split right down the middle.

“That’s ridiculous. Totally. I mean, that’s unheard of. How can they charge somebody on something we own?” said Michael Vassallo.

On Monday, the Fort Myers Beach town council will hear from the public one final time on whether or not short-term rentals should be regulated like businesses.

The last time the town council discussed these short term rental fees, they had to move the debate to a different venue because so many people showed up.

“The local economy needs everything it can from the tourism to support what’s going on here. I think it will be very helpful,” said renter Jim Harris.

But there are plenty who are not on board with the idea.

“That’s not fair. It’s not fair. It’s my house. I pay taxes already on my house,” Vassallo countered.

Property owners would have to register with the city and pay an administrative fee if they planned on allowing guests stay in their homes or condominiums.

“Fees can only help really. Because if you provide some structure that people have to pay a little bit extra, a lot of times you get better people who think about what they’re doing. It kind of helps both the landlords and the renter,” Harris said.

But some renters worry it could drive up prices, and ultimately hurt the economy.

“I’m on my way out for dinner tonight and I’m spending money that I might not be spending in this community if the price wasn’t attractive to begin with,” said short-term renter Andy Peters.

Many members of the community are looking to Monday for the opportunity to plead their case to the town council.

“This should not happen. You guys should back off and let the citizens—if they make a couple dollars, leave it alone. Why do you gotta get a cut of everything?” Vassallo said.

The town council meeting is scheduled for Monday at 9 a.m. This is the final public hearing on the shirt-term rental debate on Fort Myers Beach.

Reporter:Oliver Redsten
Writer:Erica Brown
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