Friday, June 14, 2024
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Florida Cracks Down on Airbnb Sparking Controversy

Florida Cracks Down on Airbnb Sparking Controversy
Source: Pexels

Florida Cracks Down on Airbnb Sparking Controversy

Source: Pinterest

A new law recently approved by the Florida State Senate might give the state more control over short-term vacation rentals, like those offered by Airbnb and Vrbo.

This law, called SB 280, would make it so that state rules on vacation rentals supersede rules made by cities and counties.
This means that instead of local governments making the rules, the state will have more say. Many lawmakers in Florida aren’t happy about this. Now there is a big argument about who should be in charge: the state or local governments.

The New Requirements for Rentals

Source: LinkedIn

The new rules would set limits on how many people can stay overnight in a vacation rental. For each bedroom, only two people would be allowed, with an extra two allowed in common areas.

Owners of rental properties would also need to register their properties with the local government. If they don’t follow these registration rules, they could be fined up to $500 unless they fix the problem within 15 days.

Data Base and Taxes

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The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) would be responsible for creating a database containing information about all short-term vacation rentals in the state.

Platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo, which list these rentals, would be required to collect certain taxes on behalf of the counties and send them to the government.

Rentals Will Have a Response Personnel

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Additionally, every vacation rental would have to have someone available 24/7 to deal with complaints from renters or handle emergencies.

This requirement is intended to make sure that any problems with vacation rentals can be quickly dealt with. This will help make the rental experience better for people staying there and also address any worries that people living nearby might have.

Enforcement of the Regulation

Source: Florida DBPR/YouTube

The DBPR plans to hire nine more officers to handle the huge job of regulating vacation rentals across the whole state. However, Brevard County Republican Randy Fine has criticized this number, suggesting it might not be enough to effectively manage the task.

“There will be nine people – not in your homes. Not in your neighborhoods, not in your counties. Not in your cities – there’ll be nine people here (in Tallahassee). I know the person who sits in my City Hall cares about problems with vacation rentals. I don’t trust that somebody up here will,” he said on the Florida State House floor, as reported by the Florida Phoenix.

The Short-Term Vacation Rental Market is Thriving in Florida

Source: Group by Tigertail Property Management/Facebook

The short-term vacation rental market in Florida is massive, especially considering the state’s popularity among American tourists.

Last year, according to CBS, Florida welcomed an impressive 122.89 million tourists from the United States alone. Additionally, there were 8.3 million tourists from overseas and 3.8 million from Canada, making it a highly sought-after destination for travelers from all over the world.

Airbnb’s Financial Contribution to the Economy

Source: Pexels

Florida has been attracting over 100 million American tourists annually since 2019, making it a big hub for short-term vacation rentals.
In a demonstration of the economic impact of short-term rentals, Airbnb alone reported contributing $387 million in tourism taxes to the state of Florida in 2023.

This shows the significant financial contribution that short-term rentals make to the state’s economy.

The Role of Short Lets in the Economy

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This figure represents the highest amount of tourism taxes collected by Airbnb in any state. It also reflects the significant role that short-term rentals play in Florida’s tourism and economic landscape.
It emphasizes the importance of these rentals in contributing to the state’s overall tourism revenue and economic vitality.
Airbnb’s statistics have marked the highest amount collected in any state nationwide. This figure surpassed California’s $212 million.

Oppositions Beg to Differ

Source: WKMG News6 ClickOrlando

Many people in Florida are opposed to the new bill, which transfers authority over the vacation rental market from local cities and counties to the state government.

Oppositions are calling on Republican Governor Ron DeSantis to veto the legislation.
They contend that the bill concentrates excessive control at the state level. Meanwhile, it is stripping cities and counties of their ability to regulate the short-term rental market in a manner that aligns with their specific local needs and concerns.

Stakeholders Have Also Reacted to the Bill

Source: MSNBC/YouTube

Numerous stakeholders, like the Florida Realtors Association and the Florida Alliance for Vacation Rentals (FAVR), have openly urged Governor DeSantis to veto SB 280.

“Vetoing this bill will allow lawmakers and stakeholders more time to work together towards a better balance of private property rights and local government regulation of short-term rentals,” the Florida Realtors Association said in a letter to its members.

Pressure is Growing on Governor De Santis

Source: GovernorRonDesantis/YouTube

As of now, the governor has not received the bill, and there have been no comments from him regarding the measure. But critics are not relenting.

They argue that the legislation represents “a unique example of very ‘imperfect’ legislation” and stress the significance of preserving a balance between private property rights and local government regulation.

The Impact of the Bill on Tourism

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Critics of the bill, including city officials and representatives from local governments, have expressed some concerns. They are skeptical about the bill’s potential to disrupt local tourism economies and weaken the effectiveness of local regulatory efforts.

They point out the significance of local autonomy in tackling the challenges and opportunities presented by the short-term rental market within their communities.

What Next?

Source: ABC Action News/YouTube

The legislation is currently awaiting Governor Ron DeSantis’s decision. If signed into law, it would become effective on July 1, 2024, representing a notable shift in the regulation of short-term vacation rentals in Florida.

The decision’s outcome could have wide-ranging implications for Florida’s tourism industry, local governance, and the short-term rental market.