Volusia County Preparing To Restart Short Term Vacation Rentals

Volusia seeking state approval to allow local vacation rentals to reopen

Volusia County officials adopted a mandatory safety plan on Tuesday needed to help pave the way for short-term vacation rentals to reopen for business.

Vacation rentals across Florida have been shut down since the end of March as one of many emergency measures taken by Governor Ron DeSantis to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. The shutdown didn’t affect hotels or motels. With a phased reopening of the state now under way, the Governor on Friday authorized counties to seek permission to allow vacation rentals in their county to resume operations. But requests must be accompanied by a plan outlining measures that vacation rentals will have to implement once they reopen in order to ensure the safety of their customers.

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On Tuesday, county staff presented a proposed safety plan to the Volusia County Council. Under the plan, vacation rentals would be required to do such things as:

Clean and disinfect all frequently-touched surfaces in the property between each guest stay.

Wash all linens, dishware and other service items available for use by guests between each guest rental.

Maintain adequate time between the conclusion of a guest stay and the check-in of the next guest to allow for appropriate cleaning and sanitation.

Minimize direct guest contact with property owners or managers through remote check-in and check-out procedures.

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Unanimous Decision

Eager to help ailing vacation rental operators as the state and county steadily reopen, the County Council unanimously adopted the safety plan on Tuesday. The next step is to send it to the state for approval.

“If we’re welcoming tourists and we’re welcoming people from other areas in, then we need to help these people that rely on us for their income,” said Councilwoman Heather Post. “I’m so glad to see this happening.”

Under the plan, vacation rental reservations from areas identified by executive order of the Governor which require isolation or quarantine must be for periods longer than the mandated quarantine period and guests occupying those vacation rentals must adhere to the quarantine restrictions. In addition, property owners or managers would be required to provide a copy of the safety plan to occupants prior to their arrival.

The next step is to submit the plan to the state Department of Business & Professional Regulation (DBPR) for approval. Once the plan is implemented, the county would report any complaints of a property owner, property manager or occupant failing to comply with any provision of the plan to DBPR – the agency responsible for enforcing the business regulations. While the safety plan would authorize vacation rentals in all of Volusia County to reopen if the state approves, Volusia’s proposed plan contains an opt out clause for any cities that don’t want to be included. Interim County Attorney Mike Dyer, who drafted the plan, said a number of counties in Florida have already submitted vacation rental safety plans to the state. Dyer said he’s hopeful the review process will be quick. According to the DBPR web site, the state has already approved safety plans in seven counties.

“I would, based on what we’ve been reading, expect that they may have a rather expeditious turn-around time,” Dyer told the council.

Source: Volusia County

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