HUTCHINSON ISLAND, Fla. — As part of Florida’s reopening, the state this weekend gave the green light for vacation and short-term rentals along the Treasure Coast.
One real estate agent said he is making sure he keeps both the property owners and future renters safe amid the coronavirus pandemic.
While Monday was not a beach day, realtor Vince Sartoris with Ocean Real Estate wanted to show off the beach from this oceanfront apartment in North Hutchinson Island.
When the coronavirus hit Florida in March, Sartoris said there was a lot of uncertainty.
“We actually had people staying here that were trying to decide what to do,” said Sartoris.
His client, Neil Leonard of Connecticut, ended up staying in Florida an additional two months this year.
“I just fell in love with the ocean. I walked the beach every day and was in the water every day,” said Leonard.
While some stayed longer, Sartoris said others who wanted to come and stay for a shorter time were not allowed.
“They stopped because of the COVID-19,” said Sartoris. “Sales suffered too during that time period here on the island.”
Now that the restrictions have been lifted, real estate agents are getting calls not just for short-term rentals but for longer-term rentals for next season.
There are still specific guidelines and restrictions in place. For example, all three Treasure Coast counties are limiting capacity to 10 overnight guests in a property and allowing for extra time between rentals to clean the unit.
In St. Lucie and Martin counties, reservations can only come from states with COVID case rates of 700 cases per 100,000 residents.
“Not only do we have to protect ourselves, we have to protect our owners and protect our clients who come in as tenants,” said Sartoris.
In Indian River County, visitors coming from high-risk areas like New York or Louisiana must rent for more than 14 days.
“I don’t look at long-range plans very often, but it looks like I’m going to have to if I want a place like this,” said Leonard.
Sartoris said renters who decide the earliest have a variety to choose from, but even last-minute renters can still find a place.