TREASURE ISLAND — A couple who owns Gulf-side property on Treasure Island has sued the city, charging its short-term rental ordinance is unconstitutional.
Navneet and Neerja Anand of Michigan filed the suit April 10 in Pinellas County circuit court. Among its allegations, the suit claims that Treasure Island’s ordinance defining “residential dwellings” is vague and could cause the homeowners to “speculate” about its meaning. The ordinance limits rentals within the RM-15 zoning district in which the Anand property is located to no more than five times a year.
Treasure Island code inspectors issued the Anands a notice of violation on Feb. 8, citing the home as a “tourist dwelling.” A hearing on the violation was scheduled for April 17.
The lawsuit alleges that the city’s ordinance does not define “lessees” or “holders,” which “apparently does not merely ban paying renters for six times a year but also friends or relatives whom the plaintiffs allow to use the property.”
The suit says the Anands rent the house “on occasion” and “also permit their friends and relatives to use their home which may violate the terms of the ordinance.”
“Depending on how the city defines ‘lessees’ and ‘holders,’ it may well prohibit owners from allowing pet sitters or home sitters from staying at the property six times a year,” the suit adds.
Because of the alleged lack of precision in the ordinance, the Anands charge that it is “void for vagueness.”
The Anands asked the court to issue a temporary injunction barring the city from enforcing the ordinance and that the ordinance be declared unconstitutional because it violates the due process clause of the Florida constitution.