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Regulating vacation rentals in Florida

Vacation rental homes that are turned into "mini-hotels" packed with tourists may become a thing of the past.

That's if a new bill in Florida allowing local governments to regulate vacation rentals becomes law.

Right now, they are, for the most part, regulated by the state.
Folks who live out here on Pensacola Beach say they regularly see vacation rentals packed with people.

Mike Turner, Pensacola Beach: "A number of people staying in these houses."
Mike Turner lives on a street that's filled with rental homes.

"At one time, some of these houses, they would overbook 'em. And they're booked for 12 people and you have 18 to 20 people come in."
Turner says the situation has improved recently and that it's being handled well overall.
 Pam Jewell, meanwhile, who also lives on Pensacola Beach, says she supports a new bill that would give the power to regulate vacation rentals back to local authorities.

"Sometimes during spring break, some of the kids, they throw bottles out in the pool areas. The noise can be loud, that sorta thing."

The bill is sponsored in the state senate by Republican John Thrasher, of Saint Augustine.
It would overturn a law passed in 2011 that took the power to regulate vacation rentals away from local authorities and gave it to the state.

Thrasher says decisions about rentals should be made at a local level.
Pam Jewell, Pensacola Beach: "They should have control of that."

Mike Turner, Pensacola Beach: "I like it the way it is."
The bill is opposed by the Florida Vacation Rental Managers Association.
They say property owners help bring in a lot of money and that local authorities should take more responsibility for zoning decisions that allow large homes to be built on beaches in the first place.

A final decision on the bill won't be made until Florida's next legislative session, which begins in March.