Home Sharing is the practice of renting out one or more spare bedrooms in your home to generate some extra income. Since the owner is also living in the house, the idea is that renters will be kept under control and will not disturb neighbors or be disruptive to the neighborhood. This practice is also called "hosted rentals" or "owner-occupied rentals". The City Commission wants to make this a new "accessory use" in City Zoning Code.
But, depending on the number of bedrooms being rented, Home Sharing may conflict with the City's definition of a Bed and Breakfast or Hotel, neither of which is allowed in a residential zone. It could also conflict with the State's definition of a Vacation Rental which could cause the City to forfeit its current seven day minimum occupancy requirement for vacation rentals. And it could hurt homeowners by forcing them to forfeit all or part of their Homestead Exemption and related tax benefits.
On October 18, 2021, the City Commission instructed the City Attorney to draft an ordinance to legalize Home Sharing throughout the City of Sarasota and with NO constraints. On November 15, 2021, the City Commission amended this instruction to include reasonable safeguards. The ordinance is not expected to be ready for review until early 2022.
November 19, 2018
The previous City Commission voted NOT to allow/legalize Home Sharing.
October 18, 2021
Almost three years later, the current City Commission voted 5-0 to instruct the City Attorney to draft an ordinance that would allow/legalize Home Sharing with NO constraints.
Due to scheduling and timing issues, the City Commission took public testimony on this agenda item first (there were only four speakers; I think because nobody expected the Commission to do what they did, or perhaps due to the changing of the Commission meeting times from evenings to during the day), then they took a break and then they went to some other agenda items, and then they returned to this agenda item. The link to the video is below, along with the time-stamps to fast forward to.
Thank you to Commissioner Jen Ahearn-Koch who explained that the Commission would be able to make changes to the ordinance during the normal two-reading process and for putting Home Sharing back on the agenda on November 15, 2021 so that residents and neighborhood associations could have more time to give feedback to the Commission.
October 19, 2021
November 6, 2021
A presentation about Home Sharing was given at the November CCNA meeting via Zoom. The presentation was followed by questions and comments from more than 10 different neighborhood delegates. There was significant concern about Home Sharing being abused, the inequity of potential tax avoidance, and several other aspects of this.
November 11, 2021
November 15, 2021
The City Commission amended their October 18 instruction to include reasonable safeguards.
However, after waiting almost six hours, approximately 20 citizens were denied the opportunity to speak to this agenda item. The hopeful speakers consisted of several community leaders including the Chair of the City Coalition of Neighborhood Associations (CCNA), the presidents of several neighborhood associations, the general manager of a major area resort hotel, and two local developers.
Picture showing community leaders at Commission table before being turned away:
Seated from left to right:
Thank you to Commissioner Jen Ahearn-Koch for being the only Commissioner to fight (albeit unsuccessfully) to give the citizens and community leaders who were in attendance the opportunity to speak to this agenda item.
November 16, 2021
May 12, 2022
Herald-Tribune Article: Home sharing could help in Sarasota's senior affordable housing crisis
Note: While Home Sharing may help with the current housing crisis, especially in terms of affordable, attainable, senior, and workforce housing options, there was no mention in this article of the potential tax consequences, including:
It has been discovered that a new Florida Statute governing Home Based Businesses may preempt local governments from regulating Home Sharing. (Florida Statute 559.955 from 2021 House Bill 403)
But, because Home Based Businesses are required to be a secondary or accessory use, the Home Sharing of more than one bedroom in a house could be in violation of City code that prohibits Bed & Breakfasts from operating in residential zones.
The Florida Supreme Court reversed and remanded a lower court decision that overturned a property tax appraiser's revocation of a homestead exemption on a portion of a residence that was rented to a third-party by the owner. Under Florida law, there is a 3% cap on annual property tax assessment increases on properties that are entitled to the homestead exemption. Florida law allows the homestead exemption for properties being used as a residence by the owner. Here, the court determined that Florida law allows property appraisers to exclude the portions of property not being used as a residence from the homestead exemption. Accordingly, the court held that the owner was not entitled to a homestead tax exemption on the portion of the property that was being rented out to another party. (Furst v. Rebholz , Fla. S. Ct., Dkt. No. SC2020-1479, 04/06/2023.)