Survey finds Floridians want right to rent out their homes to vacationers
This Thursday, April 14, 2016, photo, shows a real estate sign in the Piedmont Park neighborhood in Apopka, Fla., a former agricultural hub now crowded with housing developments. Where one in 10 homes was once a rental, now more than a third are. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Housing Peak-10 Years Later-Corporate Landlords

Most Floridians want the right to rent out a bedroom, or their whole home, or their rental property, as short-term lodging for vacationers.

A new survey conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy and released Tuesday finds that 73 percent of Floridians believe they and their neighbors should have the right to rent out their primary homes to vacationers for short periods of time, and only 15 percent think it’s a bad idea. The same portion of the Florida population thinks it also should be OK to rent out a secondary or investment residential property for short-term vacationers.

The matter of vacation rentals has sizzled through Tallahassee for several Legislative Sessions running and is doing so again this winter, as the interests behind vacation rental houses, a patchwork industry held together by marketing giants like Airbnb and HomeAway, go against those concerned that mini-illegal hotels can destroy residential communities, a position supported by both municipal and county organizations and the traditional hotel and motel industry at risk of giving up market share.

This year the battle, to regulate or deregulate vacation rental homes, is being fought over what is now the Committee Substitute to Senate Bills 1400 and 1640 in the Florida Senate, and House Bill 773 in the Florida House. It’s playing out as a battle of property rights of the home owners versus property rights of their neighbors, or the elimination of patchwork, local regulations versus preservation of the city and county home rule, while the vacation home marketing companies and the hotel organizations seek the background.

The question of what Floridians think was reinforced by the Mason-Dixon survey, which found only small numbers of Floridians – less than 20 percent across the questions and across even nearly all of the demographic breakouts – who have no opinion on the matters. The pollster reached 625 Florida registered voters, on both land lines and cell phones, from Jan. 3 through Feb. 1 last week. Mason-Dixon said the margin of error was no more than 4 percentage points.

Among the findings:

– 73 percent believe Floridians should have the right to rent out their primary homes on short-term bases, while 15 percent believe they should not.

The positive responses never fall below two-thirds or rise above four-fifths of respondents under demographic breakdowns by region, gender, age, race, or party affiliation.

– 73 percent believe Floridians should have the right to rent out a secondary home or investment property as a vacation rental, and only 16 percent disagree.

Again, there was very little change in any of the support across regions, genders, ages, races or party registrations.

– 61 percent of respondents believe regulations of vacation rental homes should be consistent throughout the state, while 22 percent believe it should not.

Once again, there was consistency in the opinions across demographics, with people in Southwest Florida (68 percent yes to 17 percent no) showing the most support for consistent regulations, and those in Tampa Bay (55 to 26) and Central Florida (56 to 27) showing the least support for that idea.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].


  • Paula

    February 7, 2018 at 8:53 pm

    And was this biased survey commissioned by Homeaway like the one last year?
    We saw a survey that asked Florida residents if they would buy a house next to a short term rental or if they would want to live next to a short-term rental. 95% said NO!

  • Dan

    February 7, 2018 at 9:18 pm

    I can’t believe this data. Northwest Florida, second in Florida to Orlando, has had many issues. Home owner Associations in single family homes have banned short term rental due to massive parking issues when short term rental guest bring to many vehicles. Secondly Air BNB does not screen young spring breakers who party all night, invite large groups of friends and do large amounts of damage with the police are called out or the fire department due to bin fires in the back yard. Spring break deaths have occurred for various reasons including falls from second and third floor balconies, attempts to dive into a pool from balconies, rape and etc. Hotels must conform to rules, houses have none.

  • M Rodriguez

    February 8, 2018 at 8:23 am

    Unfortunately, the cases commented here are the exception and not the norm. The majority of short term rentals are law-abiding, quiet and you probably would never know you live next door to a short term rental. It is our rights as homeowners to use our home as we would like, while abiding by the same rules that apply to you – quiet, respectful neighbors. Short term rentals need to abide by all laws (noise, parking, etc…) by to limit HOW we use our homes should not be decided randomly throughout the state and without regard for homeownership rights.

    • Paula

      February 8, 2018 at 10:35 am

      Then you probably don’t live next to an 11 bedroom built by investors living in another country. If you were directly affected,
      you would have a
      different opinion.
      The chances that those surveyed were affected by short term rentals would be small. Not affected = support. Wait until they proliferate like crazy with no local control and survey results will change!

      • M Rodriguez

        February 8, 2018 at 10:42 am

        No one is saying there should not be local control. Local ordinance rules would apply, just not what a homeowner can do within their own homes. Once it becomes a nuisance outside, local authorities/ordinances would apply.

        • Paula

          February 8, 2018 at 12:36 pm

          Senator Steube and Rep LaRosa, who both speak on behalf of the Florida Vacation Rental Management Association, have both sponsored bills TO REMIVE ALL LOCAL CONTROL over short-term rentals. The hearing is today. Regulated Industries. Watch it online! Steube will be there.

Comments are closed.


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