Sunday, March 6, 2011

An Open Letter from the Greater Fort Lauderdale Rainbow Alliance


Recently. there has been talk about either limiting, or outlawing short-term residential rentals within Fort Lauderdale. When I first heard of this, I did some research and discovered that this possible ban could effect most of the guest-houses. Many are operated under "Transient" licenses, which allow rentals of 1-day, to 6-months. Hotel licenses are restricted to specific commercially zoned areas. Most of the smaller properties are not within commercial zoned areas and could be vulnerable to a change in the law.

I attended and spoke at the Short Term Rental Use Committee meeting at City Hall in January. The Committee is charged with making a recommendations to the City Commissioners and the Mayor in the near future. Depending on who you listen to, this ban could effect small hotels, guest houses, crew houses, vacation rentals, etc. There has not been anything specific to exclude those properties. While most of the press coverage focuses on the single-family vacation home, the Committee would not define the scope of the potential ban or restriction. When pressed by myself, they would only say that they may consider defining it.

I attended the latest meeting on February 24th and was really impressed to see over 200 people present. Nearly all of those who spoke to the Committee were for allowing short term rentals. The January meeting attracted about 15 people, so from 15 to well over 200 was quite impressive. Most of the credit goes to the newly formed South Florida Vacation Rental Association, who has waged a huge campaign to protect individual property owners rights. In addition, the Realtor Association of Greater Fort Lauderdale has been behind a campaign to prevent any laws restricting short term rentals. I will keep you all informed as new information becomes available. If anyone wants to become involved with this, please let me know.

May 10 - 15 will bring IGLTA's Annual Global Convention to Fort Lauderdale. They expect 700 or more people to attend the popular event. This could very well be the largest convention in IGLTA history! The event is heavily promoted by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau, IGLTA and many sponsors and there will be major press coverage. This event attracts people from around the world and it's a great time for us to showcase Fort Lauderdale. If any of you are not a member of the IGLTA, please consider it now. You can contact me for a personal recommendation and details. As I reported from last years IGLTA convention in Antwerp Belgium, Fort Lauderdale was heavily promoted by myself (Representing the Rainbow Alliance) and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau.

You may have been contacted recently by Alan Beck of Fun Maps. If not, I am sure you will in the near future. We are working closely with Fun Maps to give us all some extra exposure at the many travel shows he attends. Details are being worked out now, but it promises to be a great promotion. The cost to be in the new Fun Map should be minimum and the exposure, with 100,000 copies printed in addition to the website exposure AND the Fort Lauderdale Destination promotion should be a great value.

Last, I would like to invite anyone who wants to become an active part of the Rainbow Alliance to contact me. We can always use new people and ideas.

Thank you,

Keith Blackburn
Chairman, Greater Fort Lauderdale Rainbow Alliance