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Short-term rentals and property rights

April 9, 2013
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

To the editor:

I've read the comments of Mr. Veach and Mrs Loughrey regarding short-term rentals with some interest. Like them, my wife and I are property owners here, and we share an interest in the issue.

To us, this is simply a question of fairness and property rights. It is simply unfair to allow some people to rent their property by the week, while others are forced to monthly rentals. As Mr. Veach points out, people have differing agenda's based on their personal circumstances. He rightly says, that the Lougherys, owners of Distinctive Beach Rentals, earn their living providing services and jobs in the rental business. Surely they would benefit from more short-term rentals. He fails to mention his own financial circumstances, something that may provide better insight into his opinions.

In between the wealthy and those working to service the needs of the island rental business are people like us whose home represents our only investment. The potential source of rental income from our home is critical to our financial well being, particularly in our coming elderly years.

We live mid-island just a few houses off Estero Boulevard in one of those "quiet neighborhoods." I'm sure we all know long-term renters can make just as much noise as short-term renters. I disagree with Mr. Veach's assessment on the quality of renters. My observations is that low monthly rental rates forced by the lack of short-term rental income contributes to a base of low cost rentals that attracts people who are more likely rather less likely to be bad neighbors.

Let me relate a recent story. When we moved to the island, there was an elderly lady living across the street. She was in her 80s and had lost her husband. Her financial resources had dwindled, and she was no longer able to care for herself. She needed to find a place to live. The problem was two-fold. First, property values are low, so she did not want to sell her home, but monthly rentals simply did not generate the money she needed to support her in a managed-care facility.

Because she was unable to maximize on rental market, she was forced to take the worst of two options and sell. Rather than having a solid ongoing rental income, she took the short sale and now lives with her son.

Why is it fair for those who own just 50 feet from us to benefit from the income of weekly rentals while we cannot? All property owners on Fort Myers Beach will experience an increase in property values if allowed weekly rentals are allowed, some of us need it more than others.

Peter Guidi

Fort Myers Beach



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