Gulf Shores to Start Vacation Rental Inspections

Gulf Shores to Start Vacation Rental Inspections

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GULF SHORES, Alabama -

Images like this from earlier this year when a beach house deck, overloaded with spring breakers, collapsed, injuring six. Or, a 2 year old playing on a first floor balcony falls when the banister gives way.

"Just kind of raised the flag, what can our city do to protect the tourists coming down?"

So the city of Gulf Shores is doing something about it according to chief building inspector Brandan Franklin. "City inspectors will come out and do a safety inspection on every unit for anyone that has a business license to rent that unit."

That's around five thousand short-term vacation rentals in the city limits and police jurisdiction of Gulf Shores.

Nine times out of ten if you rent a place down at the beach, it's gonna have a balcony, a deck, even stairs. The inspection will help make sure the spindles, the railings and the deck itself is safe and solid.

"Who wants to go to a place where you could get injured," says Tammy Gordon visiting from Indiana. "So, I'm all for that. I think that's great."

"What we are basically looking at is your life safety issues," says Franklin. "The balconies, decks, rails, stairs. We want to make sure the units have smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, that the bedrooms have windows that operate properly."

Property owners will pay an additional 45 dollars for each business license which will be used to hire two additional building inspectors. Safety inspections begin in January. They will be required every three years.

Motels and hotels are not covered under the city ordinance. Those inspections are handled by the state.

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