Time to get short-term rentals right

For RentI am glad to see that some policy makers in the Florida State Legislature are taking notice of the new practice of renting rooms or entire homes through third party websites.  I’m all for the free market, but as a mom, I’m also all for safety and knowing if I am living next to an “off-the-books” bed and breakfast with a high traffic of transient activity.  This sort of new lodging economy is creating risks in our neighborhoods, when homeowners are approving strangers to stay in their houses based on nothing more than an online score that could be faked.

Knowing your own house guests is something most people take for granted, but with this technology, we could have more and more strangers staying in our neighborhoods.  Most of us are mentally prepared for that situation in a hotel district when we’re on the road, but we are not prepared for it at home, nor should we necessarily have to be.  That’s why we have zoning laws.

It is time for us to take a closer look at how these websites are changing things under our noses before we have a chance to acclimate and make informed decisions about where we and our vulnerable children want to live and what practices are going to be allowed, community by community and neighborhood by neighborhood.

Technology creates great opportunities, but the technology should serve us, not the other way around.

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