The city of Sarasota began to regulate vacation rentals here in the city and I imagine that they are already doing that in many other places at USA , now I need a permit from them, and the city inspector came to my house where we rented a studio apartment that It was built from the garage but we do not have the construction permits, because of that the inspector told us that the place should be closed, and it cannot be rented anymore, otherwise a huge fine would be paid, someone who has the same problem and any suggestions to follow?
I’m sorry you went through this. Gone are the early couch-surfing days of Airbnb, I suppose, which probably wouldn’t be approved nowadays either.
Fernando, I know it doesn't help your problem and I am sorry after your hard work you find yourself in this situation but, your post struck a cord with me because we potentially had the same situation.
Although we do not have a similar issue regarding Airbnb in my part of Australia we do have local government bylaws we have to contend with, and I have found when dealing with local government it pays to ask them for advice rather than have them come knocking on your door.
I am bringing this up now Fernando because if you approach your local council and ask for advice on how to gain compliance it may be possible for you to get a permit to STR, or even LTR.
I decided to do exactly what you did in 2015. We had an old garage on the property which I wanted to short term rent. This is what it looked like inside......
I knew if I applied for council approval I would not get it because it did not comply with the building code.......so I went ahead and did it up anyway...
When I had it complete I approached council to have a building inspection done. The inspector came around and the first thing I said to him was to point to a bit of walling anywhere in the building and I would cut out a small hole to show him what was behind. He was satisfied with what he saw and went on to check plumbing and electrical.
At last he said to me, "I will grant you 'occupancy' on the building, what do you want to do with it?" I said it was for my children who live interstate to stay when they come to visit and it was for our friends who may come up from the city and want to stay after having a meal and a few drinks. And I then said I wanted to use it as a short term rental!
He said to me. "Ah, that is where your problem is going to come in, this area is classified as R1 residential, meaning, one residence per allotment.....no exceptions"!
He then told me that it was however a nice facility and I would not be having a noticeable impact on other hospitality businesses in the area and he then said, "Does it share anything with the main residence"? and I told him it did in so much as the bathroom was also the main house laundry. He said to me "If you would be prepared to list it as a private room or a guest suite, inferring that it was part of the main residence, council would turn a blind eye when they saw it come up in advertising".
And Fernando, that is where it sits, I don't have written approval but, by being proactive and involving council, asking them for advice, I do have local government on my side. I have even had Lilly Do (the local dpt of health inspector) translate my house rules into simplified Chinese text. I involve council in what I am doing and the whole community is benefiting!
Fernando, I know that Airbnb are seen a bit more benevolently here than in the US but, maybe it is worth a try. I have found asking for help gets you a long way, demanding it rarely gets you anything other than a kick in the backside.....give it a go!
Most coastal city zoning and permitting codes in the US are similar, so this is probably your situation.
You have two separate issues. First, the added space, converting a garage into a living space, is a building permitting issue.
You would need to apply for a special permit for when things are built after the fact with no permits. They might agree to this, because you are a nice guy, and you would need to remove as much sheet rock or whatever so they can inspect it. You would be at their mercy, and all of it would likely need to comply with both local and federal building codes.
That's all different than applying for a STR permit, which is a zoning issue. It could be illegal to rent out long term because of zoning, where most neighborhoods are designated single family residential, SFR, but still be permitted to have a STR. That's my situation. STR is legal, and long term apartment is illegal.
The county will likely have a record that you pay taxes and it states the square footage of the house and designate the garage as storage. They may even have a floor plan. So that's what you would apply to change. You may also need to meet other hurricane wind codes as well as flood codes which are federal codes, and strict requirements for the entire county to be in the flood insurance program.
So as long as the work was done to code then you would have much easier time than not to code.
I'd also suggest talking with a contractor who is very familiar with the building permitting process. You might want to hire one if you could even find one willing to bring it up to code and get you though the process. They would be more knowledgeable about the right approach depending on when the work was done or what you are looking at to bring it up to code.