Orange County sends plan to restart vacation rentals to state

Rentals will be limited to guests on reservation

Central Florida property owners join federal lawsuit against Gov. DeSantis demanding reopening of vacation rentals

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – The Orange County administrator sent a letter to Florida’s business regulation agency with the county’s plan to begin allowing vacation rentals again during the coronavirus pandemic.

County Administrator Byron Brooks sent a letter Thursday to Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Halsey Beshears, outlining the county’s plan to reopen vacation rentals.

Under Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive order, counties must seek approval from the DBPR to allow vacation rentals to begin operations again.

“While it is important to reopen Orange County’s economy by allowing the operation of vacation rentals, the safety of employees, guests and owners of vacation rentals is paramount,” Brooks wrote in the letter. “Your assistance in allowing vacation rentals to reopen to guests, subject to the owners/managers following the attached specific guidelines, will help Orange County’s economy rebound.”

Under Orange County’s plan to reopen vacation rentals submitted to state regulators, vacation rentals will need to follow a set of guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Those guidelines include adequate time between guest stays to allow for cleaning and sanitation and providing soap and surface sanitation supplies to guests.

Rental companies will also need to ensure adequate safety protocols are in place and publicly displayed, in line with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, regarding shared amenities such as pools, gyms and other communal spaces.

Vacation rentals will not be used for events or group gatherings that exceed the maximum occupancy of the rental property and only guests whose names are on the reservation will be authorized to stay on site.

“Any Guest having events or group gatherings in the home or exceeding the numbers of authorized guests will be immediately evicted without refund,” according to the county’s plan.

Reservation will be limited to residents from U.S. states with a COVID-19 case rate of less than 700 cases per 100,000 residents as of May 19, according to the plan.

“Any person coming from a highly-infected area, as defined per the Florida Governor’s guidelines, must reserve a minimum stay of 14 nights and follow CDC self-quarantine guidelines,” the letter states.

A county spokesperson was unable to provide a timeline for when they expect to hear back from the state.

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