Building Rental Rules

Highlands County
Building Rental Use Rules
FY 2020-2021

  1. Responsibility: The responsibilities of the renter are not limited to inside the facility but extend to the surrounding County property.
  2. Reservations:  Reservations for use of the Ag Center, Desoto Community Center, Lorida Community Center, Venus Community Center and the H.L. Bishop Park Clubhouse are made with the Park & Facilities Management Office. Reservations may be made during normal business hours, from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. Reservations may be made up to six (6) months in advance but should be made no later than ten (10) days prior to the event. Reservations not made ten (10) days prior to the event must be paid with cashier’s check, money order or cash. Reservations are on a first come first serve basis and cannot be confirmed until payment is received. The responsible renter must be 21 years of age or older.
  3. Refunds: Refunds will only be processed when reservations are canceled at least ten (10) day prior to the event. Exceptions to this policy require County Administrator
  4. Usage Hours: The hours for use, including set-up and clean-up, will be shown on the rental agreement. All private functions are limited to a total of eight (8) consecutive hours except by prior approval from the Park & Facilities Management Office. Government and non-profit seminars, classes, events, etc. will be exempt from this rule.
  5. Admission: Except for approved non-profit organizations, County buildings shall not be used for events where admission is charged or anything is sold for the personal gain of one or more persons or businesses.  A Special Event permit may need to be filled out with the Highlands County Code Enforcement for use of the food vendors and non-food vendors at the event, that will be set-up outside.
  6. Maintaining a Healthy Environment: Renters are responsible for promoting healthy behaviors that reduce the spread of germs during their event(s). Follow the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s considerations for Events and Gatherings posted on their website. Items include but are not limited to promoting hand hygiene, staying home when sick, practicing social distancing and respiratory etiquette and frequent cleaning and sanitizing prior to and during event. Required personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies, garbage bags, etc. need to be part of your event plan.
  7. Alcohol: Pursuant to Highlands County Ordinance 20-21-04, the consumption of alcoholic beverages is permitted at certain specified County facilities provided that the primary focus of the event is not children and the proper insurance, indemnification and other requested documentation is provided to the County 10 days prior to the event.  Any person convicted of violation of any of the provisions of this section shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $500.00 or by imprisonment for each such offense.  For the use of alcoholic beverages at any event, a Special Event permit must be filled out with the Highlands County Code Enforcement office at 501 S. Commerce Ave in Sebring; phone number 863-402-6638.
  8. Fireworks: Fireworks and explosives are not permitted on County property.
  9. Smoking: Smoking and/or the use of smokeless tobacco or snuff are not permitted on
    County property.
  10. Animals: With the exception of certified service animals, no animals are permitted on
    County property.
  11. Decorations: Ceilings - Banners and bunting shall not be hung from the ceiling by any means, other than ceiling grid hangers specifically designed for this purpose. Tape, glue, pins, staples, nails, etc. may not be used. Any damage to the ceiling tiles or grids,
    regardless of hanging method, will be the responsibility of the renter. Walls – Nothing shall be hung on the walls in any building by any method. Tables – Table skirting may be fastened to tables by plastic clips or connectors specifically designed for this purpose. Tape, glue, pins, staples, nails, etc. must not be used. Confetti – The use of confetti is not permitted on County property. Candles – The use of candles or open flames is not permitted on County property.
  12. Tables & Chairs: Tables and chairs are to be used inside the building only. Tables and chairs for use outside the building must be privately procured by the renter. At the Ag Center, Lorida Community Center and H.L. Bishop Park, County staff will provide tables and chairs on roll carts; however, the renter is responsible for setting them up and placing them back on the cart at end of event.  Set-up and tear-down is available at the O.S. Sam Polston Auditorium at the Bert J. Harris Agri-Civic Center for an additional fee.
  13. Doors: Doors are not to be propped open for any reason.
  14. Cooking: If food is to be served and/or consumed inside the building, tablecloths must be used and tables must be wiped down after use. If outdoor cooking equipment is used, such as smokers or grills, they must be set-up a minimum of 50 feet from the edge of any building rooflines. 
  15. Overnight Parking: Overnight parking or use of camping equipment is prohibited.
  16. Cleanup: Cleanup is the responsibility of the renter and all trash generated must be
    properly disposed of. Renters must supply their own garbage bags and remove garbage from the building for proper disposal in County dumpsters. Floors are to be left broom cleaned and no substances are to be placed on floors for any purpose. The
    deposit, as specified by fee schedule, will be refunded only if the building and grounds have been cleaned and left in good condition and all rules have been followed. Failure to comply with any of the cleaning and/or rules will result in forfeiture of all or a portion of the deposit.  Any renter who leaves a building or grounds in a manner requiring damage repair or an extraordinary amount of clean-up will be charged an additional fee, as specified in the fee schedule. This amount will be deducted from the refundable damage deposit.
  17. Physical Security: Physical security for rented buildings is the responsibility of the renter. All doors and windows must be checked to ensure they are secured prior to the renter leaving the building. 
  18. Proof of Liability Insurance: Proof of insurance is required for every event. Insurance may be obtained online, by contacting a local insurance agency or through Sherri Bennett, Highlands County Board of County Commissioners Risk Management Coordinator at (863) 402-6792. The County does not receive a commission from policies obtained.