New Crew Housing Limits

30 October 2015

New vacation rental home rules in Fort Lauderdale are slatedto go into effect on November 1, right before tourist season peaks. Why do youcare? They will have a direct effect on crew housing options in the area.

All persons operating a vacation rental must register withthe city and have the property inspected to ensure it meets minimum standards.The rules, which were voted on in August, restrict guest occupancy to twopeople per bedroom, plus two additional people. For example, a four-bedroomhouse could be rented to 10 people. Guest vehicles must also fit legally on thesite and not be parked on the street.

Such restrictions have raised concern among yacht crewhouses, especially considering the ordinance will be implemented at such badtiming for the yachting industry: four days before the Fort LauderdaleInternational Boat Show.

D.J. Parker of Neptune Group Yachting, who operates 10 crewhouses, told the Sun Sentinel that many crew houses will be forced to shut downbecause they can’t comply.

Parker proposed a one-month delay until after the boat showand Commissioners Dean Trantalis and Bruce Roberts said they would bring theissue to the full commission, states the Sun Sentinel. According to MattLittle, public information specialist at Fort Lauderdale City Hall, vacationrentals must be registered by November 2, but property owners have until April1 for life and safety inspection.

But not everyone finds this new ordinance a problem.

“In the long run, I think the ordinance will be good for theyachting industry, as now a lot of the community look on ‘yachties’ asdisruptive drunks, which is not descriptive of all ‘yachties,’” maintains Sam,owner of crew house Sam’s Crew Castle. “True, some of them do ‘party hard’ whenthey first get off their yachts, but they can be made to behave if they knowtheir consequences if they do not.”

Sam, who already runs a tight ship, doesn’t find that theordinance will affect Sam’s Crew Castle much.

“I only had four bedrooms that were legally large enough forthree people, but have cut them down to two people now due to the ordinance,”she says. “So I will only be turning away four people. I have two bedrooms perbathroom, so I didn’t need to change that.”

She also points out the obvious — crew are used to followingstrict rules and being in two to a cabin that is approximately five- byten-feet, and are lucky if they have a bathroom off the cabin that is three- byfive-feet.

The rules also prohibit occupancy by a sexual offender orsexual predator if the rental home is located within 1,400 feet of a park, playground,school or school bus stop.

According to the Sun Sentinel, rental homeowners would haveto pay $750 for an initial fee, $500 for an annual renewal fee and annualsafety inspections, which are estimated to be $75. They already pay $300 a yearfor a state licensing fee.

To view the ordinance, visit: