New vacation rental regulation poll may not be accurate

A woman talks on the phone at the Airbnb office headquarters in the SOMA district of San Francisco
If the recent poll results hold true, it would represent a major turnaround over the past year.

A poll released by Mason-Dixon last week found that the vast majority of Floridians think they should have the right to rent out their homes through vacation rental platforms such as Airbnb, even if that means overriding local government rules.

But the measure may not be accurately portraying voters’ opinions.

A poll conducted last year by St. Pete Polls — one of the more accurate polling operations in the state — found that a supermajority of voters believed local rules should be the standard for vacation rental policies. Only 21 percent dissented.

The same poll asked voters point blank whether the state government or the city and county commissions should be the ultimate authority on short-term rental regulations. Under that wording, the gulf only grew wider — nearly three-quarters believed locals should wield that power.

If the recent poll results hold true, it would represent a major turnaround over the past year.

St. Pete Polls told Florida Politics they are planning to double check the results obtained by Mason-Dixon with their own poll in the coming days.

Voter sentiment on the rules could prove key in how lawmakers handle vacation rental bills teed up for the 2020 Legislative Session.

Measures that would put statewide rules in place have been filed in the House and Senate, and at least the Senate version will get a hearing early on in the 60-day Legislative Session — SB 1128, sponsored by Sen. Manny Diaz, is on the agenda for Monday’s meeting of the Senate Committee on Innovation, Industry and Technology.

The House version, HB 1101 by Rep. Jason Fischer, has received committee assignments but hasn’t been placed on the agenda for its first stop, the House Workforce Development and Tourism Subcommittee.

Both bills would  roll back local ordinances and bans predating 2011, creating state legality and a regulatory structure in its place.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


2 comments

  • Thomas Knapp

    January 12, 2020 at 9:39 pm

    In other news, most Floridians don’t think it’s any of their neighbors’ damn business whether they drink coffee vs. tea with breakfast, wear the blue polo vs. the orange t-shirt for golf, or watch Monday Night Football vs. America’s Got Talent.

    If you don’t like the idea of homes being rented out via Airbnb, don’t rent your home out via Airbnb, and feel free to buy as many homes as you can afford and not rent them out that way either. Whether other people rent out their homes, and if so through what intermediary if any, is their business, not yours.

  • La

    January 13, 2020 at 8:10 am

    First of all, I have to question the statement that St. Pete Polls are “more accurate” as Mason Dixon is one of the most prominent polling companies in the country and St Pete is a small local company. That being said, I believe the results vary on the actual questions asked. If asked, “Do you believe you should have the right to rent out their homes through vacation rental platforms such as Airbnb, even if that means overriding local government rules” is quite different than the question posed by St.Pete Polls. It is a question of local governments imposing a myriad of unnecessary and burdensome regulations on private property rights at the behest of the hotel lobby. Renting one’s property is one of the fundamental property rights in our bundle of rights when we purchase our property. Local government should not be able to limit that. Obviously most people would agree. St. Pete should ask the same question and they would most likely see the same results.

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