Twenty-nine new Bert Harris claims come to Holmes Beach

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HOLMES BEACH – In the last week to file Bert Harris claims with Holmes Beach regarding the city’s vacation rental ordinance, 29 new claims found their way to city hall with a total value of $8,031,000 if city leaders choose to accept the proposed settlement amounts.

Twenty-two of the claims, with property owners represented by attorney Aaron Thomas, came in on Sept. 28 with a total value of $5,664,000. All of the claims listed the reason for filing for loss of property value with the city were due to reductions in occupancy in the short-term rentals. Occupancy in Holmes Beach in short-term rentals is limited to two people per bedroom or six people total, whichever is greater, including children and infants.

One claim found its way to city hall Oct. 1 requesting compensation from the city amounting to $250,000, claiming property loss due to a reduction in occupancy. The property owner also is represented by Thomas.

Just under the deadline, six claims were received at city hall on Oct. 2 amounting to $2,117,000 in requests for compensation. All of the property owners are represented by attorney Scott Rudacille.

While all six claims list occupancy as a reason for filing for compensation due to property value loss, one claim also lists loss of future land use as a reason and two list restrictions on the number of bedrooms allowed for new construction for short-term rental properties. The city’s ordinances restrict the number of bedrooms on new construction to four per single family home or two bedrooms per side of a duplex for short-term rental properties.

The 29 claims were in response to a postcard mailing sent out by city hall Oct. 1, 2017, advising property owners of their rights under the Bert Harris Act and the vacation rental ordinances previously passed by commissioners. Property owners were given one year from receipt of the postcard to file Bert Harris claims. Now city leaders have 150 days from receipt of the claims to respond or offer a settlement to property owners.