‘Last legs’: House vacation rental preemption fizzles

Vacation Rental House
Gov. Ron DeSantis might have had a hand in the bill's fate.

A bill (HB 1011) preempting local zoning for vacation rentals may not get a House floor vote.

Speaker Jose Oliva told media that it was “on its last legs,” a sign that in the waning days of Session, home rule proponents may have scored a win.

The Senate never moved the bill to the floor; it stalled in committees. And Gov. Ron DeSantis has expressed doubts about the state’s ability to regulate the sprawling industry.

The proposed legislation would protect 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.

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 would be grandfathered.

In turn, owners of rented properties would have certain obligations including displaying their Vacation Rental Dwelling License and 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 includes provisions that would 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.

Committees saw a preponderance of criticism of the state taking over zoning, with property owners and local politicians expressing grave concerns about what would happen if an overstretched DBPR took over.

Critics of the legislation expressed concerns that state regulation would hinder communities where Airbnb and VRBO properties are prevalent and some properties in quiet neighborhoods could wind up with short-term renters who disrupt the community with raucous, late night parties. As with other arguments against preemption efforts, those critics argued communities were better equipped to handle local issues and that a one-size fits all approach was not appropriate.

It seems those critics may have gotten their way this year.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Charles M

    March 7, 2020 at 11:38 am

    I hope the beach community “locals” that were so vociferous about keeping the tourists out of their neighborhoods have the funds and resources available to keep the rising sea levels out as well. This was a great opportunity to raise incremental tax dollars to reinvest in our infrastructure. Most of these “locals” wont be around in 30 years anyway, so what do they care. Just keep your music down and your crying babies away.

  • George

    March 7, 2020 at 11:56 am

    Money just doesn’t buy houses, businesses or investments. It buys politicians to enhance their political views . What it doesn’t buy is internal life. Nothing changes if nothing changes. I’m sure all the restaurants and businesses love cutting their staff buy 50 % to keep themselves profitable because of this bill.

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