Key West's ongoing crackdown on illegal rentals to banned tourists recently included a yacht that was illegally docked downtown at A&B Marina. CONTRIBUTED

The City of Key West’s illegal rental task force continues to crack down on illegal rentals. After the first arrest was made Tuesday, the task force made two more arrests on Wednesday.

The first instance was in response to a complaint that renters had moved into a vacation rental. The renters cooperated with the investigation and were informed they could not stay. If they do, they, too, could be subject to arrest.

City Manager Greg Veliz is adamant that these illegal rental cease.

“This will not be tolerated,” he said. “It cannot continue. The directives we’ve enacted are difficult, but they’re absolutely necessary to ensure the safety of our community’s health and to ensure we get our economy back up and running. If people continue to rent illegally, you will see more arrests.”

Another Notice to Appear was issued to the owner of a 70-foot yacht that arrived at the A&B Marina on April 2nd. According to investigators, the vessel had attempted to dock at a marina in the county and was denied because of Monroe County’s emergency directive. It states that vessels can only dock to refuel, replenish supplies, or because of mechanical problems.

The vessel then rented a transient slip at the Key West marina. When questioned by code enforcement, the yacht’s owner, John Simard, allegedly said he’d booked the slip before the emergency. He then noted that he was having engine trouble. Key West Code Compliance placed him under quarantine on his boat and informed him he must not leave the vessel.

Later that night, police were called, complaining of a party on board Simard’s boat, and that people from the community had come aboard. At that point, Simard was told he must leave.

When enforcement officials followed up Wednesday, the vessel was still in the slip and Simard was issued a Notice to Appear.

The next morning, April 9th, Simard purchased a private slip and relocated the yacht.

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