Door could be slammed on vacation rentals plan
Advocates for local control of vacation rentals rally ahead of Senate Rules, 3/2/2020

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Senate Rules postponed the bill, but the House is poised to pass it.

A bill preempting short-term zoning for rentals was temporarily postponed early in the Senate  Rules Committee after consistent objections from local leaders and a lack of support from the Governor.

SB 1128, sponsored by Republican Sen. Manny Diaz Jr., was not heard Monday.

The House bill (HB 1011) has cleared all three committees of reference and is ready for the floor, meaning there is still a path despite the committee stall.

The proposed legislation protects from local regulation rentals offered through 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 like hotels and motels, and foodservice establishments, so too would it regulate Airbnb, VRBO, and the like.

While the move is framed as an elegant solution to patchwork local regulation, even Gov. Ron DeSantis balks, questioning the state’s ability to handle the task and whether there’s a need for statewide uniformity.

Locals from Tallahassee, St. Augustine and Crystal River in a press conference Monday morning voiced complaints rehearsed in previous committees that vacation rentals left unchecked could undermine quality of life for adjacent landowners. However, no Senators joined them in that argument.

Still, the case was made that preemption represented a “Godzilla,” threatening neighborhoods.

Local regulations under the bill 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 would have certain obligations.

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

Property owners would also face requirements to display sales tax and tourist development tax information.

Quarterly verification would be 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 targets so-called “home rule” provisions, and this bill falls within a recent tradition of trying to dismantle onerous ordinances.

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


2 comments

  • Paula

    March 2, 2020 at 6:47 pm

    “The Legislature often targets so-called “home rule” provisions, and this bill falls within a recent tradition of trying to dismantle onerous ordinances.” Onerous? Residents think local control is great – only the legislature calls them “onerous.”

    Who says they are “onerous?? The people who sponsor and have spoken on behalf of the VRMA (La Rosa, Grant, and Steube before he went to DC?)? Plasencia, who did an Airbnb commercial (he did say he was not paid for it).

    Airbnb, who donated 1.250 million to the legislators?

    Even Governor DeSantis recognizes this is an unattractive bill. It’s designed to consolidate power in Tallahassee, and allow short-term rentals in all communities outside of HOAs.

    Please research what has happened to Sedona and Lake Placid, which passed similar laws. They are now trying to undo them, as communities become short-term rental communities, and are no longer neighborhoods. People in the service area are crowded out of the rental market, the inventory of housing shrinks, and prices go up as investors (and most profit comes from whole-house rentals) buy up housing stock. One person in our Florida community owned 17 houses/lots – he lived in St. Louis. There is very little “mom and pop” – this is big business that destroys communities. No one is opposed to “mom and pop” with a room rented out to help defray costs.

    The residents/voters HAVE spoken very clearly, and residents/voters want LOCAL control. I think our legislators and our governor are starting to listen.

    • Michelle Daines

      March 5, 2020 at 4:51 am

      I agree with every word you wrote.Bravo for your work on this. Thank you.

Comments are closed.


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