Senate bill seeks legal short-term rentals statewide

Good news for VRBO, Airbnb.

Throughout Florida, cities continue to litigate the question of vacation rental zoning. A Senate bill would render those debates moot.

SB 1128, filed by Sen. Manny Diaz, would preempt the regulation of vacation rentals to the state.

Local laws regulating or banning short-term rentals would be rendered moot.

The Miami Republican’s bill protects from local regulation rentals offered via an “advertising platform,” which offers software and online access to listings for “transient public lodging establishment[s]” in the state.

Just as public lodging (hotels and motels) and food service establishments are regulated by the state, so too would Airbnb, VRBO, and the like.

The bill lays forth some justifications for preempting local regulations.

“Property owners who choose to use their property as a vacation rental have constitutionally protected property rights,” the legislation contends.

The role of short-term rentals, meanwhile, is “significant, unique, and critical” to the state’s tourism industry.

Regulations of such are only permitted if they apply to all properties, including long-term rentals and owner-occupied homes.

Laws passed before June 2011 are grandfathered in.

In turn, owners of rented properties have certain obligations.

Primary among them: display of their Vacation Rental Dwelling License.

The bill also has provisions that tighten regulations on the short-term rental services themselves.

Among them: requirements for display of license, sales tax and tourist development tax information.

Quarterly verification is required, along with a stipulation that noncompliant properties are removed from platforms within 15 days.

The Legislature often takes aim at so-called “home rule” provisions, and this bill falls within a recent tradition of trying to scuttle onerous ordinances.

In the 2019 Session, one of the most talked about bills was a preemption on local bans on front-yard vegetable gardens.

The saying then was “Free the peas.”

This year’s may be “Free the AirBnBs.”

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Charles Farrell

    December 5, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    If this bill passes I hope they open a Airbnb next to Sen Manny Diaz house and that he is voted out of office

  • Paula

    December 5, 2019 at 11:25 pm

    Research the consequences in states where these kinds of laws have been passed: lower availability of housing for residents, fewer residents to volunteer (short-term renters aren’t coaching and volunteering in schools), trash, lack of parking, destruction of neighborhoods, stress on the infrastructure (such as septic tanks) with dozens of people jammed into houses built for a single family, increased fire hazards…it’s a long list. And, of course, everyone has read of the massive, uncontrolled parties – and the injuries and deaths – that have occurred at “party mansions” advertised online.

    Also know that it’s investor-owned rentals that is the predominant Airbnb model – NOT the “mom and pop” renting out a room that is touted by short-term rental supporters.

    And, the Diaz bill talks about a “constitutional right” to do whatever you’d like with your house – so even if you’re in an HOA, you may be surrounded by strangers if this bill passes.

    Voters better let their representatives know that they don’t want unfettered short-term rentals everywhere – it destroys communities. There’s a place for them – most of have used them – but they are NOT in residential neighborhoods zoned single-family. They are a business.

    Local communities know what is best. Not the politicians supported by the short-term rental industry.

  • Dennis

    December 6, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    I have operated short term rentals in Florida for over three years now and have hosted hundreds of guests. Travel nurses who need a furnished place to live for 3-6 months, families relocating to the area who need a furnished home for 2-4 months while they shop the real estate market to find their new home, elderly people visiting during the winter months, people visiting family, couples or group of friends enjoying the area for a weekend getaway, people attending conferences and conventions or music events and larger groups of university students from all over the country who, because of the affordable rates offered by airbnb/VRBO hosts are able to get their first experience of Florida’s beautiful beaches which will always bring them back. From the hundreds of guests I have hosted I have not received one single complaint from my neighbors. The guests pay taxes which are collected by airbnb/VRBO and paid to the appropriate government offices. Hopefully some of that money goes to improve our infrastructure. So many people , hosts and guests, are benefiting from this affordable housing option. So housing available to residents is decreased creating increased demand, we have builders ready to start new housing projects. The comment above from Paula is full of exaggeration, fear lingering, and misinformation and sounds like an advertisement from the hotel association which doesn’t consider the full picture and how so many people both hosts and guests are well served by allowing home owners to use their property in this way. They don’t care about anything but limiting their competition. I, more often than not, side with the democrats on most issues but on this issue I say to my friends and neighbors, the republicans sponsoring this bill, well done and thank you.

Comments are closed.


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