Marco Island sued over short-term rental ordinance

Reporter: Rachel Cox-Rosen Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
Marco Island
Home on Marco Island. (Credit: WINK News)

Vacation rental owners in Southwest Florida are fired up over a referendum that would change how they operate, and they are taking the City of Marco Island to court.

The rental owners believe voters may be misled and confused when they head to the polls next week.

For Albert Randa, his property is not just a pretty home on Marco Island, it’s his dream.

“I own one residential house so that I can retire there in 10 years. That’s why I bought the house,” said Randa.

Now, Randa is thinking of giving up his dream. He said the ordinance imposing a registration system and new rules on short-term renters would ruin everything.

“Now, all of a sudden, I can’t do that. How can you take that right away from me and financially damaged me and my family. And now the dream of Marco for us to retire to after running it for the next 10 years is over,” Randa said.

That’s why Randa and four others are suing the City of Marco Island and supervisor of elections Jennifer Edwards for what they call this confusing and misleading referendum.

Voting is already underway, and if it passes, the plaintiffs want damages.

“We think our clients have a property right that’s being taken away by the city by this ordinance. That right is to freely rent their vacation homes, and they’re going to lose that income,” said David Di Pietro, the lawyer representing the plaintiffs.

WINK News asked Ed Issler to respond to that, he is the chairman of the organization Take Back Marco, which is sponsoring the referendum.

“The ordinance is merely to set parameters for rental homes number of occupants parking trash noise, and it doesn’t do anything to limit anybody’s ability to rent their home,” said Issler.

The referendum does not stop anyone from renting their homes in the short term, but the new rules, the plaintiffs argue, will make it cost prohibitive and create too many rules and regulations to do so.

Copyright ©2023 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.