With the issue of short-term rentals percolating in Tallahassee this Legislative Session, new polling says Floridians generally agree with the practice.
A mid-December survey from Mason-Dixon, lightly circulated until now, shows that 84% of those surveyed back the right to rent out homes or properties on a secondary basis.
This number, from a phone poll of 625 registered voters, was consistent across the state, across parties and genders and all other relevant demographic markers.
As well, 55% of those polled (including 63% of Democrats) believe the state should regulate vacation rentals.
The polling is well-timed, given legislation is in play in both the House and the Senate that would protect such private property rights.
The proposed legislation protects from local regulation rentals offered via an “advertising platform,” which provides software and online access to listings for “transient public lodging establishment[s]” in the state.
Just as the state regulates public lodging (hotels and motels) and food service establishments, so too would Airbnb, VRBO, and the like.
The role of short-term rentals, according to bill text, is “significant, unique, and critical” to the state’s tourism industry.
While polling and the GOP majority is with this latest preemption push, opposition will be presented from at least one vocal quarter.
The Florida League of Cities opposes the filed legislation.
The League’s Casey Cook noted opposition to new legislation (SB 1128/HB 1011) that would roll back local ordinances and bans predating 2011, creating state legality and a regulatory structure in its place.
State regulation, Cook added, has been “inadequate” in this sphere.
Short-term rental regulation has oscillated in the last decade.
Compromise legislation in 2014 allowed local jurisdictions to create some rules; however, advocates for short-term rentals have bemoaned the “patchwork quilt” of regulations.
With demonstrable support for a state-mandated solution, it is possible that locals may be largely divested of the ability to regulate these spaces.