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Judge upholds Volusia County’s short-term rental regulations.

Tue, Dec 13, 2022 at 11:25AM

Written by Kristen Schmutz

Belden Communications News 



A final judgment was issued Monday, December 12, 2022, by Judge Kathryn D. Weston regarding the prohibition of transient or short-term rentals, of less than a month, in areas zoned for residential purposes. In her ruling, Judge Weston confirmed that the Volusia County Code of Ordinances does prohibit them.

An original lawsuit was filed against the County in June 2021 by the Vacation Rental Home Alliance and Steven Murray, arguing that Volusia County’s zoning ordinance does not restrict vacation rentals. 

According to a release, any restriction of vacation rentals is preventable via state statute, with the plaintiffs referencing Section 509.032(7)(b), Florida Statutes, “A local law, ordinance, or regulation may not prohibit vacation rentals or regulate the duration or frequency of vacation rentals. This paragraph does not apply to any local law, ordinance, or regulation adopted on or before June 1, 2011.” Judge Weston found it indisputable that the ordinance was adopted before June 1, 2011. 

The plaintiffs also argued that the Volusia County Code of Ordinances does not specifically prohibit “vacation rentals,” instead using the term “hotel/motel.”

The ruling states, “While the County’s definition of “hotel/motel” and the state’s definition of “vacation rental” are not identical, their primary characteristics overlap. Both phrases apply to buildings rented to the public as transient lodging for periods of less than a month.” The ruling subsequently states, “Plaintiffs rely on, but misinterpret, a nonbinding, informal opinion of the Attorney General to argue that a zoning ordinance must use the phrase ‘vacation rental’ or ‘resort dwelling’ to have grandfathered protection.”

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