Bill to bring uniformity to vacation rentals on the move

Vacation Rental House
Senate committee hearing Tuesday.

A bill that would preempt the zoning of short-term rentals to the state is queued up for a Senate committee this week.

SB 1128, sponsored by Republican Sen. Manny Diaz Jr., is up in Commerce and Tourism Tuesday.

Should that panel move it forward, Rules would be the final committee of reference before the Senate floor.

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 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 will be grandfathered.

In turn, owners of rented properties have certain obligations.

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

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

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

In a previous committee, support and opposition was fierce.

Airbnb, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, and other business groups expressed support. The Florida League of Cities, the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, the Florida Association of Counties, a few specific cities and counties and a handful of neighbors of existing vacation rentals offered opposition.

Democrats wanted anti-discrimination language, as well as language barring short-term rentals from affordable housing funds.

Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, a Naples Republican who will lead the Republican caucus, cautioned that the Legislature “can’t just preempt. We have to preempt and set parameters.”

The bill (HB 1011) is moving in the House also. It awaits a hearing in the Commerce Committee

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at [email protected]


  • Jan

    February 10, 2020 at 8:01 am

    I’ve attended these meetings, and have been following this issue very closely over the past several years. You forgot to mention the many residents who get up and speak against these bills, the polls that have been shared with the legislators (St. Petes Polls/Living in Florida poll) that clearly demonstrates residents/voters want local control, the news reports from Arizona showing that now 30% of the housing in Sedona (no STR controls) is now short-term rentals, and Arizona is realizing it made a mistake allowing these types of bills to pass, and that before 2011 there were no issue with Airbnb and its ilk, so dialing back the Florida legislation to what was in place before 2011 is virtually meaningless. The FL legislation also says renting your home is a “constitutional right” which would affect HOAs as well.

  • Denis Hanks

    February 10, 2020 at 8:51 am

    These bills are supported in part because they do protect HOA’s and also condo docs in the language. DBPR already regulates vacation rentals under chapter 509 just like hotels and motels. The only difference with passage of these bill is that vacation rentals won’t have 2 places to be registered and inspected. Hotels don’t have to currently abide by that process now. In fact this set of bills would make vacation rentals the most regulated lodging sector statewide. I submit that maybe hotels should adopt this same language to protect the consumer since DBPR reports that hotels have 10X as many violations each year than vacation rentals do. Lets make it a real level playing field. If hotels have violations reported lets take down hotels on airbnb, expedia, etc that are putting guests at risk.

  • Charles M

    February 11, 2020 at 3:08 pm

    I live in a beach community in a highly desirable vacation area. I’m in favor of this bill passing, as I feel like it’s an overreach by my local government to restrict my ability to rent out my house for less than 30 days at a time. If I abide by state laws, pay my taxes, etc, then I should be allowed to rent my house out for any amount of time I like. With rising insurance premiums, I need the extra income.

Comments are closed.


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