Ron DeSantis cold on vacation rental preemption
Governor Ron DeSantis.

Ron DeSantis
DeSantis signals break with GOP on short-term rental preemption.

Legislation is moving to preempt regulation of vacation rentals to the state, but it may not get past the Governor’s desk.

Gov. Ron DeSantis told reporters that, while he has “not made a final decision,” he has “expressed privately to some of the members of the Legislature … concerns about that.”

Among the gubernatorial qualms: “We’re going to be in charge of this as a state? We have 22 million people, almost. Very diverse state. For us to be micromanaging vacation rentals, I’m not sure that’s the right thing to do.”

“Look, these are things where you’ll have kind of a quiet neighborhood and then you’ll have someone doing it and there’s parties going on and some of the residents get upset.”

“My view,” said DeSantis, “is probably that should be determined locally.”

“If you don’t like how they’re handling it, then you probably do that. So that’s probably where I’m leaning right now,” the Governor added.

He’s “listening to arguments,” he said, but for those who have tracked the progress of this bill, the arguments tend to be mostly in favor of local control, with people coming from around the state to voice displeasure with the legislation.

The Senate legislation (SB 1128), carried by Sen. Manny Diaz, has one committee stop ahead before the Senate floor. The House bill (HB 1011) has cleared all three committees of reference, and should be cleared for the House calendar soon.

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.

Last week, the House Commerce Committee aligned the bills by adding language that would require online platforms to collect and remit taxes on vacation rental properties. The changes would also ensure that only licensed rentals are advertised.

Local governments would still be able to regulate problems like noise, parking and trash as long as the vacation rentals were regulated the same as other homes in their jurisdiction.

DeSantis’ note of caution mirrors a concern expressed by one future Senate president in committee.

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.”

Perhaps, however, preemption may not happen at all, if the Governor’s comments are any indication.

Just as the Governor’s veto of bans on local plastic straw bans surprised some last year, this year’s break with the GOP legislative majority may be on the matter of VRBO, Airbnb, and the like.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at AG@FloridaPolitics.com


10 comments

  • GIULIA

    February 24, 2020 at 1:20 pm

    Miami Beach CITY IS RETALIATING AGAINST US REPUBLICANS. REPUBLICANS PLEASE HELP, GOV. DE SANITS FLORIDA ACTING MORE IN DEMOCRAT INTEREST PLEASE CALL HIM TO ASK TO BE A REPUBLICAN AND PASS SB1128 VACATION RENTAL BILL. (850) 717-9337)Miami Beach CITY IS RETALIATING AGAINST US REPUBLICANS. REPUBLICANS PLEASE HELP, GOV. DE SANITS FLORIDA ACTING MORE IN DEMOCRAT INTEREST PLEASE CALL HIM TO ASK TO BE A REPUBLICAN AND PASS SB1128 VACATION RENTAL BILL. (850) 717-9337)

    • Lynn

      February 25, 2020 at 4:47 pm

      AWW do only republicans have vacation rentals?

  • GIULIA

    February 24, 2020 at 1:21 pm

    Miami Beach CITY IS RETALIATING AGAINST US REPUBLICANS. REPUBLICANS PLEASE HELP, GOV. DE SANITS FLORIDA ACTING MORE IN DEMOCRAT INTEREST PLEASE CALL HIM TO ASK TO BE A REPUBLICAN AND PASS SB1128 VACATION RENTAL BILL. (850) 717-9337)

  • Concerned Citizen

    February 24, 2020 at 4:00 pm

    As a supporter of the Bert Harris act, and private property rights in general, I have been a bit surprised to see no recognition that private property rights are not absolute for a landowner. Even the Harris act recognized that “no land exists in isolation”, especially a residential property. In Florida, there exists reams of history and case law supporting the right of one to “quiet and peaceful enjoyment” of their property. Slamming in a vacation rental in a residential neighborhood can clearly disrupt the rights of the private property owners and in my view local governments should be able to lawfully – and responsibly allow residential only neighborhoods to flourish. This bill took it even further than that and said that municipalities cannot inspect properties for health and safety concerns. What an overreach.

    Legislators who voted this piece of garbage through because their leaders “told them to” should grow a pair next time and call a spade a spade – and vote against it. They look weak and feckless. What they dont realize is not much Ron DeSantis bailed them out and saved them from themselves. This would have been a disaster for people pushing this.

    Once again DeSantis looks like a brilliant chess player and other people in politics look like silly amateurs.

  • KLP

    February 25, 2020 at 5:26 am

    This legislation should not pass. Leave it to the local governments to manage.
    To micromanage this at the State level is overreach.

    • Lynn

      February 25, 2020 at 4:51 pm

      I agree.

      tallahassee is trying to get rid of local rule.

  • Charles M

    February 25, 2020 at 7:01 am

    I own a single family house in a beach community that prohibits me from renting any less than 30 days at a time. This is a clever way to discriminate against families with kids (who can’t logistically do a 30 day spring break vacation) and is a prime example of what “local control” looks like. With this bill, local governments will still have the ability to enforce as many local ordinances as they want, they just wouldn’t have the ability to pick on specifically vacation rentals. Properly taxed, unified vacation rentals will drive incremental tax revenue to support the buildout of much needed infrastructure for our beach communities. “Local volunteers” aren’t able to build new drainage systems, renourish our beaches, and elevate our roads, we need money for that. Rather than continuing to raise taxes and fees on local residents, this is a great way to raise funds from external sources.

  • George Fernandez

    February 25, 2020 at 9:44 am

    Real simple….. the Governor has many big money donors that are against rentals on their beach homes. You pass it no money no votes Ron !!!! Pass the the baby and clean your hands.

  • Nancy

    February 25, 2020 at 3:18 pm

    This is a terrible legislation for the residents of North Bay Village. He’s right to support local governments’ right to regulate STVRs in a way that makes sense to their residents. One size does not fit all.

  • Denis Hanks

    February 29, 2020 at 4:40 am

    For the last six years local governments have tried to regulate vacation rentals both fairly and unfairly in many cases. They have created overreaching ordinances that violate private property rights and they have been sued, caused hundreds of millions of dollars of Bert Harris claims and squandered taxpayer dollars all along the way. They use taxpayer dollars for enforcing problems that really don’t exist as bad as they say, they can’t quantify the problem and they use enforcement vendors from the other side of the US because they don’t know how to handle vacation rentals. But now they don’t want the state to take control of the mess they made with sensible regulations. It’s easy to use taxpayer dollars when you really have an endless pit of revenues to tap into for these types of crusades. Let DBPR have the resources to fully enforce vacation rentals the way they should have been regulated from the beginning. Let’s pass bill 1128 and 1011 and stop the local governments from needlessly spending millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars to lobby senators, representatives and the Governor, over enforce and strip the very taxpayers of their constitutional rights that generate them revenues on a daily basis. Vacation rentals are residents and taxpayers also and yes they vote.

Comments are closed.


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