Imagine planning your next vacation to a Florida hot spots online, only to see a note on the website that explains “This location in Florida now has a local ordinance banning the rental of homes, condos or apartments to vacationers.”
It could happen all over the state, unless Sen. Greg Steube, (R-Sarasota) and Rep. Mike La Rosa, (R-St. Cloud) are successful with their bills to protect vacation rentals. Both bills would stop local municipalities from over-regulating vacation rentals by imposing new restrictions on vacation homes.
“Senate Bill 188 and House Bill 425 would prohibit local government from banning vacation rentals. I urge other state legislators to stand with Floridians and support these bills,” says Deltona-resident Denis Hanks is the head of the Florida Vacation Rental Managers Association. “A recent poll from Mason-Dixon research showed that Florida residents overwhelmingly support vacation rentals. An astonishing 93 percent of respondents believe Florida visitors should be allowed to stay in accommodations other than hotels.”
There’s already a fight going on in Miami over this exact issue.
Airbnb and some of its clients have taken it to the courts, filing a suit against the city of Miami. Last month, the city banned the use of homes as rentals in residential districts.
In 2011, Florida lawmakers prohibited municipalities from banning the use of private homes as rentals for short periods. There was an exception for local governments with laws already on the books allowing for the ban on vacation rentals.
The Miami City Commission has decided it did have the laws on the books and enacted the ban for residential areas. Airbnb disagrees with the commissions interpretation.
From the suit filed by Airbnb and some of its clients: “The Individual Plaintiffs had never heard of the City’s vacation rental prohibition before 2015, and it was not for a lack of looking. It simply was not in Miami 21.”
Also from the filing it says, “The City has recently undertaken an aggressive anti-Airbnb campaign that includes threats against individual Airbnb hosts who attended a City Commission meeting to publicly voice their support for vacation rentals in Miami. The City is now acting to make good on those threats. Airbnb stands together with its Miami hosts in opposing the City’s unlawful efforts, and in particular stands with the brave individuals who have come forward and seek to protect their rights as Individual Plaintiffs in this action.”
“This industry has been under attack,” LaRosa testified. “Individuals’ private property rights have been violated.”
Rep. LaRosa proposed bill not only prevents local governments from imposing new restrictions on vacation homes it also orders restrictions adopted during a 2014 legislative compromise be deemed “void and unenforceable” by the state.
The Florida Association of Counties, Florida League of Cities, x the Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association, Flagler County, and the cities of Bradenton Beach, Daytona Beach, Holmes Beach and Lake Worth all oppose the bill.
In support of the bill’s passage are Homeaway, an online vacation rental site, the Florida Association of Realtors, Florida Chamber of Commerce and Americans for Prosperity.
Summing this up, some law makers explain they are getting back into this fight after vacation rentals and the lucrative industry that surrounds it went under attack, facing a number of new regulations that threaten to choke out vacation rentals for certain parts of the state. But local government says the states involvement is a violation of their rights to practice the creation of home rules that best protect their citizens.