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