Vacation rental ban continues in Phase One of Florida’s reopening

Vacation Rental House
Under Phase Two, Florida residents would likely be free to book vacations.

The statewide ban on vacation rentals will continue in Phase One of Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ plan to reopen Florida.

For well over a month, guests have been unable to schedule vacation rentals through services like Airbnb or HomeAway. And with Phase One, expected to give way to Phase Two Monday, it’s unclear whether that will change.

Earlier this month, DeSantis extended the vacation rental ban until May 7. The Governor issued a carryover order (Executive Order 20-111) that extends the ban until Phase One begins on Monday, and another, 20-112, that carries the order through Phase One, which is expected to end Monday, May 18.

The original order, issued March 27, (Executive Order 20-87) suspended vacation rentals in homes and condominiums. It did not apply to hotels, inns and resorts, and it did not apply to long-term rentals.

Vacation rentals have become popular with tourists and spring breakers, who have drawn DeSantis’ ire throughout the pandemic.

According to the order, “many cases of COVID-19 in Florida have resulted from individuals coming into the state from international travel and other states, posing great risk to Florida residents.”

Additionally, “vacation rentals and third-party platforms advertising vacation rentals in Florida present attractive lodging destinations for individuals coming into Florida.”

However, with spring break long since come and gone, DeSantis can’t point to college kids crowding beaches and taking body shots for why to close the rentals, though summer vacation could present a new challenge.

One of the reopening’s tenets calls for preventing new infections from travelers.

The Governor’s Re-Open Florida Task Force report suggests vacation rentals could open in Phase Two, but only to Florida residents. Anyone traveling internationally or from domestic hot spots couldn’t rent, according to a subsequent suggestion.

President Donald Trump‘s “Opening Up America Again” framework outlines at least two weeks between phases, and DeSantis seems set to follow a similar timeline. On Wednesday, he told reporters the second phase was hopefully weeks rather than months away. True to his word, DeSantis signaled on May 14 that he was ready to announce Phase Two Friday, May 15. It’s expected Phase Two will being May 18, exactly two weeks after Phase One took effect.

With the Memorial Day weekend right around the corner, vacation rentals will likely have limitations if they are not still closed.

As COVID-19 began spreading in the United States, the Governor ordered people traveling from New York City, New Orleans and the surrounding areas self-isolate for 14 days upon entering the state, which he says reduced the number of plane trips from the New York area. The state also set up highway checkpoints at the border on Interstate 10 and Interstate 95.

Restaurant dining rooms and retail storefronts are open to customers but limited to 25% capacity under Phase One. The first phase also permits outdoor seating at restaurants, as long as tables are spaced six-feet apart.

VISIT FLORIDA CEO Dana Young, who led the task force’s working group involving tourism, said she hoped Florida residents, who would be more likely to immediately take an in-state trip, could put the industry on a path to recovery.

Earlier this month, Pensacola-area Republican Matt Gaetz weighed-in on the vacation rental ban during a press conference alongside the Governor. The Florida Panhandle is more reliant on vacation rentals for tourism than more populous parts of the state.

“In Northwest Florida, we don’t have a 500-key hotel room every 1,000 feet,” he said, but added that he was confident in DeSantis’ “evidence-based, measured approach.”

However Denis Hanks, executive director of the Florida Vacation Rental Management Association, has asked the Governor to make data behind his vacation rental ban public.

“While we understand the public safety approach to this emergency order and extension, we do have some serious concerns as the only hospitality sector singled out and restricted by its implementation,” Hanks said in a statement at the time of the mid-April extension.

Gaetz, an ally of the Governor, appeared to balance his political relationship to the man standing approximately six feet apart from him and his constituents. He offered the following advice to the cities and counties of Congressional District 1:

“If there are particular areas of advice or concern that you have, I would strongly encourage you to meet about those, discuss them in public, even pass resolutions regarding the conduct that you think our community is ready for.”

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


71 comments

  • Paula

    April 30, 2020 at 6:41 pm

    Good for the Governor! Definitely the correct call. With most STRs being whole-residence units, you end up with multiple families sharing the house, bathrooms, kitchens, etc., then they head out to grocery stores, beaches, etc.

    We had an 11-bedroom STR house in our community that slept 24. Think there would be social distancing there? Don’t think so!

    Bravo, Governor – you definitely made the correct call on STRs.

    • Diane Keele

      May 1, 2020 at 12:08 am

      I’m all for staying safe, but a family staying together in a 3 bedroom rental poses a health threat to no one. What’s the difference between staying in a condo and a hotel? I’m sure hotel prices are through the roof. I’m in Tennessee, and my county had zero cases, or so I’ve been told.

      • lisa

        May 3, 2020 at 1:50 pm

        What’s the difference? People don’t live in hotels.

        • liz

          May 4, 2020 at 12:34 pm

          There are people who live in hotels. How do you not know that?

          Most short term rentals are not sleeping more than 2-4 people and have far fewer shared spaces and surfaces than hotels.

        • d

          May 5, 2020 at 9:34 pm

          that makes no sense. If I come to Florida and get a 7 nights stay at a hotel or a 7 night in a condo, the hotel is actually way worse. How many touch the elevator buttons alone A condo is just my family just a stupid law.

    • Shane

      May 1, 2020 at 8:26 pm

      Not the correct call!! My wife and I planned a vacation 10 months ago with our grandchild. We are coming from Arkansas which has far lower cases than Florida. We were planning on spending the entire week to ourselves. Your governor is an idiot. Makes ZERO sense. Florida is off my vacation list for good. Y’all can swim in your own damn mess. And good luck putting people back to work with that kind of leadership. Mexico here we come from now on!

      • julia

        May 3, 2020 at 12:24 pm

        Shane,
        So very sorry to hear that! This has got to be a giant disappointment for you and your family.
        Take it from an owner of one of these short-term rental properties, we believe it to be the wrong call also.
        Our property sleeps 6 and it’s a single family home. It’s the perfect place for someone like you, much much better option than a hotel, motel or resort. For crying out loud! We rely on folks like you immensely, please reconsider your next vacation to Florida, it’s just beautiful here.
        I certainly wish this governor would see the light.

      • Tommy Thompson

        May 3, 2020 at 7:17 pm

        Amen brother. It’s ok for me to deliver freight all over the capital city everyday but just because I’m from south Ga I better not get caught going to the beach on the weekend. I hate it for the small businesses on SGI but your powers that be can eat shit in FL.

    • laura

      May 3, 2020 at 4:05 pm

      Paula,

      Obviously you are anti-rental. Just because there is one bad actor does not make all rentals bad. Please explain to me the difference between a tourist at a hotel, resort or timeshare where all common spaces are shared and a private home that is safe and can be occupied by just one family. Which would you think would be the safest? A private home of course. Yet HOTELS, RESORTS AND TIMESHARES ARE OPEN!

      • Kevin

        May 14, 2020 at 11:53 pm

        Hotels and resorts have shared ventilation. 500 people vs 5 people sharing the same air. Are you that stupid? Fucking sheep

    • Tom

      May 4, 2020 at 11:50 pm

      Then why doesn’t he limit the number of people staying in a unit? Instead, he closes my vacation rental completely and I have a limit of 6 occupants at any time. And, if vacationers can’t stay at a vacation rental, then wouldn’t they stay at a hotel where there is enormously more interaction between renters including handrails, elevators, door handles, etc.? I have just the ONE house that I’m trying to earn enough to pay the mortgage while planning to retire there, and the Governor has shut me down. And, now he’s opening the beaches, the bars, along with the hotels and motels. No wonder Florida has a coronavirus problem… too much effort in all the wrong places, and not enough where it needs to be.

    • Deb

      May 7, 2020 at 12:49 am

      I understand where you are coming from. I have been stay in place since March 12. Believe me I take this Virus seriously. I am in charge of 30 people coming from different states.I have begged to reschedule next year. They can’t do it. Unless June is closed to out of state tourist.Our stay is in June. I have spent $20,000 for 2 rentals home that I rented nearly 2 years ago and there is a good possibility we get nothing back and can’t rent next year. We may have 2 choices go and everyone flying from all over the country and getting the virus possibly, provided anyone wants to go or lose $20,000. Many sleepless nights.

    • Rob

      May 8, 2020 at 8:01 am

      Paula. why are you even on this page? You “HAD” an 11-bedroom STR in your community? Whether it’s still there or not, you don’t have to try and destroy a vast part of Florida’s real estate and economic livelihood just to address your pet peeve.

  • Lee Rushing

    May 1, 2020 at 10:14 am

    We have one vacation rental home in Citrus County, Florida. This order blocks guests from staying at our home but allows these same guests to rent Hotel/Motel rooms and share the common lobby area and elevators when entering and exiting. At our property, they are distanced from any other people. The bigger health threat is to the Hotel/Motel renters. In addition, the funds lost from cancellations at this point to just our rental are over $14,000.00. The lose of income not only affects us as the owners, it affects the people that do the cleaning because they have no homes to clean, the counties who are losing the taxes legitimate owners pay, the State who is losing the tourist tax, the small restaurants, etc. If the vacation rentals are ordered to be closed, Hotels and Motels should have to follow the same rules. At least lift the restriction to allow Florida residents to occupy short term vacation rentals located in Florida.

    • Brenda Platt

      May 3, 2020 at 12:07 pm

      Thank you for this well written response. We,too, are in the same condition. My husband and I are retired and on Social Security. We count on our two small vacation rental units for 70% of our income. To date, we have lost more than $18,000 income. But as the writer states, more importantly those who clean our units have suffered greatly. They are young and don’t even have Social Security to depend upon. As too why hotels and motels stay open, do they have more financial leverage with the Governor that the small business person? It would seem so. I know, personally, that these hotels and motels are not just renting to “essential” personnel. Where is the policing of these establishments? Hotel and Motels should have been closed for a month and adhering to rules made for the small business persons.

    • liz

      May 4, 2020 at 12:32 pm

      Well said. This handout to the hotel industry is ridiculous. Most smaller private rentals are safer.

  • Ron

    May 1, 2020 at 5:46 pm

    Well done Governor! Vacation rentals are not mange by on site personal. Just Received a marketing promo for Reunion Resort advertising a STVR for 32 people. Where is the social distancing? At least hotels have occupancy limits. Who is going to check to make sure STVR are sanitized properly for their patrons? STVR will create massive crowds back in our local supermarkets preventing our residents from obtaining food and supplies. STVR have no accountability.

    • liz

      May 4, 2020 at 12:31 pm

      Your example is for a resort, THEY ARE EXEMPT FROM THE REGULATIONS. Short term rentals have occupancy limits and most are for 2-4 people only and do not share common spaces like hotels do. Owners live close by or in many cases with guest houses, etc. they share the property. Many of their bookings are not even for vacations, people travel for work and locals use them when relocating or for events like medical emergencies and treatments, family emergencies, etc.

      The owners make sure the units are clean and sanitized and have more incentive to keep them clean as they are directly effected and depend on good reviews.

      Excluding hotels from the regulations when hotels are MORE LIKELY TO CAUSE SPREAD OF VIRUS makes no sense whatsoever.

  • William c Slagle

    May 2, 2020 at 8:10 am

    initial reaction made sense as people were fleeing hot spots like New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. However, I own a vacation home and renters booked my home and paid deposits well before January 1, 2020. Obviously their intentions were not to flee the Covid Virus but to enjoy a vacation with family that they likely have been isolated with already.
    If seasonal rentals are lost I still have fixed costs including Property taxes, Insurance, Utilities and maintenance that will not qualify for any federal or state programs. Perhaps Governor DeSantis will pay for my expenses or Walton County will abate my 2020 property taxes. Not Likely

  • Bruce Lowman

    May 2, 2020 at 9:11 pm

    If you’re afraid of COVID-19, stay home in your room and keep your family members in isolation with you. Let the rest of those of us who would prefer to live our lives do so. When is safe actually safe? When there is a vaccine a year from now? Before that point, there will be civil unrest as people lose everything and become desperate.

    I bought a 3 BR condo a year ago as an investment and stand to lose $30k in rental income because of this arbitrary position against STR’s. Still have to pay carrying costs including HOA fees, insurance and a huge amount for property taxes. Time share rentals are okay and hotels are okay but not STR’s? Absurd on its face!

    • lisa

      May 3, 2020 at 1:43 pm

      Your neighbors in your condo chose to live in a residential building, not a hotel. They have to deal with your transient customers in their hallways and elevators while they go out for groceries or medical issues. You didn’t buy a hotel, you bought a residence.

      • Joe

        May 4, 2020 at 12:07 pm

        Everybody who buys a condo in a tourist area knows that they will have renters to deal with. If that is a problem, perhaps a condo isn’t the right place for some people to live.

    • Bernard richards

      May 5, 2020 at 6:40 pm

      I would venture to guess that some of these text are from vacation resort and such who have a vested interest in creating a monopoly on rentals disregarding free enterprise, politicians also pander to such for huge contributions

  • Michael Austin

    May 3, 2020 at 8:21 am

    So a one size fits all policy again doing great financial harm and ruining long anticipated vacations. We live in a remote area of NC where have a whopping 7 cases of the flu virus in the county and yet somehow the moron Gov thinks me and my wife are a threat to national security – “bravo” indeed says the parrots.

  • Denis Hanks

    May 3, 2020 at 8:32 am

    Here is the real irony in the Governor’s Decision. He allows first responders and emergency personnel and non vacationers (business travelers) to stay in vacation rentals, but it doesn’t allow Floridians to shelter in place there if they want to. A vacation home rental is nothing more than another full home to stay in, just like the one you probably own or rent currently for a permanent residence, so whats the difference? We have asked for the data and the science behind this, yet none has been produced. Why? Because none exists, that would also mean exposing publicly that other lodging sources that are left open have more health and safety risks than vacation homes. Its selective enforcement and discriminatory at the very least. Several operators are now organizing and poised to litigate against the Governor and the state to correct this injustice. FL Representative Sabatini has also publicly expressed concerns about overreaching on emergency powers and possible legislation in the next session. When this all ends the fallout and obvious bias will be very clear and precedent setting for future emergencies.

  • Paula

    May 3, 2020 at 9:19 am

    Yes, Denis Hanks, executive director of the Florida Vacation Rental Management Association, that would, of couse, be your opinion.

    As you know, most of these STRs are in communities zoned SINGLE-FAMILY!!! Believe me, I live in a community that allows them, and there are multiple cars with multiple families in the mini-hotels. Twenty people in a house? With out-of-state owners of these STRs advertising multiple houses for short-term rental. That is certainly not just “another full home to stay in.” That’s creating a mini-hotel within a community – but without any oversight.

    And, safety? Do these mini-hotels have to be ADA accessible? Nope.

    Our legislators know that short-term rentals remove housing inventory, and destroy the fabric of communities. There is a place for short-term rentals, but not in communities zoned single-family.

    Again, the governor is doing the right thing by his constituents – Floridians moved here for neighborhoods, not to support Airbnb, VRBO, and other mostly investor-owned STR properties.

    Of course, Sabatini would be opposed – he and the other Florida legislators (Grant, LaRosa (who is in real estate and has a specialty of “short-term rentals” listed in his Linked-In site), push these bills year after year).

    And, remember that Grant and LaRosa both spoke on your behalf at the annual Vacation Rental Management Association meetings in the past Quite breathtaking that our legislators can do that.

    And, Plascencia, another legislator, did a commercial on behalf of Airbnb (he said he received no pay for it).

    Short-term rentals are big business. You’ve seen the AirDNA data – most are investor-owned with multiple properties.

    Don’t pretend it’s anything other than that – big business.

    When pandemics and hurricanes hit Florida, it’s the residents who remain. Not the vacationers who are not invested in the community.

    You know the data, but just want to trot out the old “mom and pop” saving for Suzy’s college. Not too many are opposed to an occasional rental with the homeowner present. But, this is BIG business and you know it. That is why there is a pushback every year by Floridians, and why the *real” polls – not ones underwritten by the short-term rental industry – show that people emphatically DO NOT WANT STRs in the neighborhoods zoned single-family. Look at the St. Joe’s polls, for example.

    This pandemic has ripped open the facade of short-term rentals – these investors are one disaster away from going under. They rely on a steady stream of vacationers with no ties to the community coming to neighborhoods.

    • Sharon Harley

      May 3, 2020 at 3:55 pm

      And most of those single family homes are in communities zoned for short term rentals or even built and developed for short term rental but residents choose to purchase in them and make that their primary home, should the owners of the rental homes be penalized for that.

      Every vacation home are bound by certain compliance issues and some more stringent code enforcement in certain counties. As an example vacation homes have professionally inspected and tagged fire extinguishers on each level do residential homes? All vacation homes are bound by a maximum occupancy which is calculation on bedrooms or square footage.

      All vacation home owners have to pay the same property taxes as residents, well actaully no they pay more because they can’t claim exemption but do they or their guests use these services such schools, NO!

      Yes vacation homes are a business and licensed just as a hotel but they ar owned by individuals many of whom came to Florida on vacation, fell in love with the place and wanted to own a piece of the dream, they rely on the rental income to support the homes as most are not wealthy people. Thankfully because of these owners and their guests millions is contributed into the various counties every year. Local stores and restaurants rely on their patronage to survive as residents alone wouldn’t support them.

      You’re right when hurricanes occur most of the time the owners are not here but they pay property managers who in turn employ a team of staff who do attend to the homes and secure them and just for the record if any vacationers are in house they usually have to buckle down like the rest of us until it’s over.

      It should also be noted that the vacation homes in many communities have been the main reason property has maintained and or recovered it’s value when the market has crashed previously.

      The FVRMA, Denis, myself and many other professionals working in this industry don’t condone poorly managed vacation homes, those in communities that are not zoned by the county for short term rental, properties and guests that cause a disturbance to neighbors, those homes that are not licensed or those rentals of a space in a shared home. Removing those from the equation that still leaves thousands of homes supporting the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of Floridians. We’re fighting for those jobs which we believe is a justified cause. This pandemic has ripped off the facade of this industry, the Governor is ignorant to different professional business models within it.

    • Laura

      May 3, 2020 at 4:00 pm

      Paula (No Last name), It looks as though you are very researched on the negative speaking points regarding vacation rentals. Vacation rentals have been in the fabric of Florida tourism since Florida became a vacation destination. The fact that you say that most vacation rentals are investor owned is completely false. Although many owners use property managers to manage their home, they are still individually owned for the most part. Being able to earn extra income now is especially important during an economic downturn. As we saw in 2008, being able to rent ones home was a lifeline for many owners. It is called private property rights. An owner of a property should be able to use said property as they see fit. “Reasonable” regulation for all residential property is what is in order.

      Laura Puckett
      President, Florida VRMA

    • Michael Austin

      May 3, 2020 at 5:02 pm

      Yeah your objective you idiot

      Our legislators know that short-term rentals remove housing inventory, and destroy the fabric of communities. There is a place for short-term rentals, but not in communities zoned single-family.

    • Rick

      May 4, 2020 at 2:58 am

      Wow Paula,
      I will pray for you, as it seems you are not a very happy individual. We have personally vacationed in the same area of Florida each year for the last 25 years, dropping anywhere between 10-20 thousand dollars into that community during each vacation. We support many of the local charities and businesses, and feel STR’s and tourism itself is probably what keeps your community afloat. It seems some people do not want tourist in their communities, and I would recommend those individuals to relocate. It is kinda like buying a house next to an airport and then complaining about the noise of aircraft. Florida is built and financed off tourism. I would further state, that as a veteran I feel I have earned the right to vacation wherever I choose within the nation I served and swore I would give my life for. By the way, you are welcome.
      Rick

    • JOHN SILVERS

      May 5, 2020 at 1:44 am

      Paula,
      Your rant against vacation homes is an emotion filled diatribe devoid of facts regarding ownership of most vacation homes. The Big Business vacation homes you’re ranting against are a small minority of the vacation homes offered to tourists, first responders and the like.
      What is missing in your prejudicial view is the fact that all of your complaints are addressed by municipalities’ code enforcement laws. If a home in my county were to try to do what you claim, the neighbors would be all over code enforcement and that kind of abuse of their right to quiet enjoyment of their homes.
      Further, most vacation home owners maintain their homes far better than long term owners because they have to compete with a market that won’t put up with the classic ghetto look of long term rental homes. I can drive down any block in my coastal city and point out the homes that are rented long term because of the unmowed lawns, peeling paint, trash and other neglect that renters don’t care about.

      Get your act together and present a factually balanced piece in the future..in this one you sound like a hysterical jerk.

  • Bret Gerard

    May 3, 2020 at 11:56 am

    No vacation rentals – but hotel and resorts are fine? Sounds like discrimination to me!

    • lisa

      May 3, 2020 at 1:49 pm

      Because hotels and resorts are in commercial zones. Vacation rentals are in neighborhoods zoned for single-family residents. I choose NOT to live next to a hotel and NOT to live in a commecial zone, yet a 24-person mini-hotel can open next door. They cater to large groups – too large to be coming from a single family home elsewhere.
      Also, if these rentals are in building accessed by elevators with public hallways, it’s harder for elderly residents to get around while avoiding these transient renters during this crisis.

    • Sharon Harley

      May 3, 2020 at 9:53 pm

      I think you are simply speaking from your own personal experience and sadly many single family communities also started off as vacation rental communities and over time have become more residential but I fail to see why it need be a problem. I live in a STR community and have no issue as quite frankly I’m happy enough to see different faces. Sometimes it can be an advantage, if I didn’t like the neighbors last week, maybe next week the new guests will be nicer but quite frankly apart from saying good morning or hello in passing they are not in my space and I’m not in theirs. So long as guests are respectful of our community and surrounding I’m happy to see them enjoy what we get to enjoy year round. Right now most homes in our community are vacant Because the discrimination the Governor shows towards STR but 5 minutes along the road Mystic Dunes can trade as they’re time share. Another 5 minutes and Hotels, Motels and Inns all open for business.

    • JOHN SILVERS

      May 5, 2020 at 1:51 am

      Paula,
      I bet you like the 7% Florida Sales Tax vacation homes generate and in my county the 5% Tourist tax. Typical government grabbing of the entrepreneurial effort. That’s a total of 12% of the gross!!
      I know my figures are falling on deaf ears, I doubt you own a calculator or have ever done an analysis of the financial pros and cons of this issue.
      Block vacation homes and all those travelers will go elsewhere.
      You obviously don’t care about Florida’s reliance on the tourists who choose to use all the vacation options available here and elsewhere

  • Pam

    May 3, 2020 at 4:19 pm

    When this virus first appeared, the media published numbers that caused fear among all of us. What we were told would happen, thankfully did not. As a vacation rental owner, I took my vacation rental off line until May 31st to wait to see what would happen, I did this prior to the governor’s order.

    Although in many areas, hotel may be away from neighborhood streets, this is not true for all areas. In Ormond Beach, the hotels and or/motels are located at the end caps of residential streets. My concern is that vacation rentals are being singled out, hotels/motels, inns, and timeshares are still allowed to operate. This is discrimination against one type of business in the vacation rental and tourism industry. Most vacation rental owners share their home with tourists that just want to come and enjoy our beaches. These are not party houses, these are families that are building lasting memories together under one rood. Hotel and motels have many more touch points for spreading germs than a single family home. Even if you do not own a vacation rental home, this is discrimination of this industry, these are people that scrimped and saved to buy a second home to share with others until they can retire. If this form of discrimination is allowed, what will happen next? Who else will be impacted? We cannot have the mindset “well it doesn’t impact me”. It impacts us all! This is precedent setting and discrimination against the vacation rental industry. Guest in hotel/motels, inns and timeshares also go to the beach, grocery stores, bars and restaurants.

    Here is what vacation rentals do for Florida:
    1) Contribute $27.4 billion dollars (numbers for 25 targeted counties)
    2) $46 Million a day in direct spending = 115,000 jobs
    3) Creates 312 jobs every day statewide, 13 ever hours, 1 job every 5 minutes
    4) Visitors spend on average $1.9 million dollars every hour, nearly $32,000 per minute

    • liz

      May 4, 2020 at 12:39 pm

      Well said!

  • Rafael Graciano Baldez Neves

    May 3, 2020 at 4:25 pm

    We are a $31 billion dollar contributor annually to the hospitality economy throughout Florida. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic our industry was creating 312 jobs per day. Today many of our industry employees are unemployed. We need to get back to work.

    Vacation rentals have implemented enhanced procedures to clean and sterilize homes using the most advanced techniques following CDC and EPA recommendations.

    Small businesses like those in the vacation rental industry have suffered enormously over the last 30 days and need to get back to work. Many have applied for CARES Act funding and still have not received approvals for funding and maybe never will. Many small businesses have been shut out of this program.

  • Mike

    May 3, 2020 at 9:40 pm

    Discrimination should not be tolerated by anyone. If Short Term Rentals are a concern, then Hotels and other public Lodging should be too. It’s time people understand that the decision to ban Short Term Rentals was politically motivated, a chance to leverage the fear from a Worldwide Crisis. It is an abuse of power.

  • Paula

    May 4, 2020 at 9:05 am

    Denis, one Mason Dixon poll frequently cited by the rental industry was commissioned by Homeaway – a short-term rental site! Here is a question one of the STR-sponsored polls asked:

    QUESTION: Do you believe travelers should or should not be permitted to rent accommodations other than hotels — such as vacation rentals and bed and breakfasts — during their visits to Florida? 93% said yes.

    Who wouldn’t say yes???? No one is opposed to STRs – just to inappropriate locations.
    This survey was administered by Mason Dixon polling, but commissioned by Homeaway – no nuance to the question (such as if it’s in a community zoned only for single families, or if it’s in YOUR community zoned single-family). Surprised it wasn’t 100%. Another similar survey with similarly biased questions was commissioned by Airbnb. Garbage in/garbage out.

    Please!

    The St. Joe’s poll is respected and not biased.

    And, keep in mind that many communities were developed before these businesses of short-term rentals become a huge reality – many communities that have guidelines had no idea this type of thing would be a reality – so it’s not in their documents.

    It would be like making a vaccine for the Cornoavirus before it was ever a reality – not possible to do. And, as you know, it can be very difficult for a master-planned community to change its documents.

  • Homer L.

    May 4, 2020 at 10:15 am

    Many short term rentals are occupied by multiple families, sharing the cost of the rental. In our beachfront community we have many instances of 15 to 25 people stuffed into just one house. Thus, all exposing themselves to each other, and then to the residents of the community in which the vacation rental is located. This is not even close to vacationers staying in a hotel, where there are only two or three individuals sharing a room. Comments about not having to press elevator buttons in a short term rental are crazy – if someone is concerned about that that can use a napkin or tissue to not have to touch the button.

    Kudos to our great Governor for doing his best to protect the residents of Florida from vacationers fleeing their own communities and bringing their infections to our state.

    Most of the comments in this thread are about the revenue the investors derived from the investor’s short term rentals. Seems to me that their loss of revenue is not a good reason for more coronavirus deaths of our residents.

    The surveys about attitudes of people towards short term rentals are generally commissioned by the short term rental industry trade groups and are so biased as to be worthless. Surveys of the residents as to their feeling about short term rentals in their communities are over 90% opposed to them.

  • 1974gator

    May 4, 2020 at 11:57 am

    I’m caught in a tough circumstance – my rental weekend in The Plantation on St. George Island is scheduled for 5/23 – 5/30. We live in ATL and one family was planning to visit from KC. If the ban ends 5/15 we could go but what will be the situation with the restaurants and alternative outdoor recreation? We like to charter a fishing boats. Are fishing charters available? How long are they going to delay our access to the property after the group before us leaves on 5/23? This is all getting too complicated. I’ll probably cancel (I can get a credit toward future, 12-18 mos. out, rentals). My wife and I, my two daughters, their husbands and 6 grandchildren will miss this trip. From what I calculate the Apalachicola community and St. Geo are losing approximately $10k in rentals, meals and miscellaneous spending because we aren’t going down.
    They say we should expect another outbreak in the Fall. It would be terrible but if this happens again in October/November there could be a lot of beach properties and business foreclosed on and being sold at auction.

  • Jen

    May 4, 2020 at 4:55 pm

    I am surprised that anyone is losing money.. We booked spring break, and have rescheduled 4 times because our manager will NOT refund our money. I get it people, but its not like this is anyone’s fault, we paid our money when we booked before this virus was a issue, we have 2 seniors that have already lost a HUGE recognition for their goal of finishing high school, 2 of the 4 parents are seasonal workers and are getting very busy right now, and the other 2 parents are out of work due to the virus. Its not like we can up and go anytime with our work schedules. This is a world crisis and we are not trying to get out of our vacation, we have to follow restrictions. I guess if these owners of these properties can lay their heads down at night knowing they TOOK money from someone who never got their vacation, they must be pretty heartless.

  • Susan C Koehler

    May 4, 2020 at 6:01 pm

    I have a family of 6 from KY wanting to travel to Florida in late June. Is a condo rental allowed like hotel and resort rentals are? If a condo rental is allowed, are out of state/US residents permitted to visit Florida?
    Thank for any help with booking our vacation.

  • Joy Wildes

    May 5, 2020 at 9:06 am

    WE have a reservation for a one bedroom condo in Panama City that we will most likely have to cancel. But my question is, what is the difference between renting a high end condo that is managed just like a hotel (really better than a hotel) and a “resort”? The website of our condo even called itself a resort, but they are still not allowed to let us come. I am so sick of all these politicians telling everyone what they can and cannot do. If people dont want to risk catching this virus, then tell them to stay home and let the rest of us live our lives.

  • Pascale Daniel

    May 5, 2020 at 9:19 am

    🚢🚀🛬⛱ So my last guest (NASA Engineer) left on April 10. He stayed 5 weeks with us for work. He had stayed in a hotel (I won’t say the name)t he first week and was so disappointed as no hot water at 6.00am, noise, not very clean, etc. so he turned to Airbnb and found us. We are glad we were able to overcome his bad experience. This is the room he stayed in. Yes, I signed the petition. It is so unfair. Also From the Wall Street Journal:
    “Florida had 6 deaths per 100,000 people as of Saturday, compared with 42 in Louisiana, 56 in Massachusetts and 97 in New York, according to states’ data.
    California had 5 deaths per 100,000 people and Texas had 3.”🚢🚀🛬⛱

    • Suzie

      May 5, 2020 at 2:24 pm

      Are Airbnb vacation rentals allowed for over 30 day stays? Is it still classified as a short term vacation rental?

      • Kae

        May 6, 2020 at 3:07 pm

        You have to rent for 30 days or more. But it can be done through an AirBNB.

  • Gina

    May 5, 2020 at 10:00 am

    May is normally a slow month for vacation rentals with the exception of Memorial Day weekend but it’s always Florida residents that rent . We are coming up on our scallop season and we depend on these rentals from our Floridians.
    We can ensure sanitary conditions in our rentals more effectively and easily in our homes by not booking without a 24-48 hour turnaround time, only 1 person is aloud to come in and clean, all signing is done online so there is literally no contact, and we can pick and choose who enters our homes and from where they are coming from unlike hotels that do not screen their bookings , we do because these are our homes.

  • Dave

    May 5, 2020 at 9:26 pm

    This is a complete joke. My father own a condo in siesta keys and yet I cant go as an owner, as I have for 20 years because it would be just my immediately family. We live in one of the least hit states and areas and its a private beach and area, yet were being told. Just flat out stupid

    • Susan

      May 6, 2020 at 12:52 am

      why can’t you go, you are family and not a renter?

  • Shaylene

    May 6, 2020 at 7:50 am

    We live in Illinois and had booked a condo on xmas eve. Central Illinois not Chicago. So excited to come but as time got closer we kept in touch with place we rented from. We were coming May 23-30. We cancelled 30 days prior to make sure we got our money back. We waited as long as we could. I went back on website and since we cancelled middle of April it has been rebooked. I called and questioned why it was how they could do to governor order. They informed me the owners did. We were hoping if governor cancelled order by May 23 we could try to rent it again. I guess if he does we will give someone else our money. Florida is a beautiful state and I hope for all condo owners he opens soon. We here in Illinois are having same issues.

  • Amy Berkes

    May 6, 2020 at 9:50 am

    You can’t book a vacation rental in Florida but you can book a “suite” that sleeps 8 at Holiday Inn Express hotel in Panama City Beach! Ridiculous! Check out who owns that hotel and their position on DeSantis reopening committee.

  • Michael Kugler

    May 6, 2020 at 10:48 pm

    I am obviously late to the game on this discussion but was made aware of it from a Facebook group that I’m a member on. I had mused that we had not seen any reservation request coming across for Florida which was odd given that we have so many listings in the state of Florida.

    I do feel sorry for the homeowners who have been hit so hard by this and hope that future bookings will help offset some of the loss they have felt this year.

    If there is anything we can help with reach out to us at https://www.vacation.rentals and we will do our best to help you recover some of those lost bookings.

    This Coronavirus is going to pass and I firmly believe when it does America will come roaring back stronger than ever before.

  • brian tyler

    May 7, 2020 at 3:00 pm

    Does the governor have investment in or significant financial support from the hotel industry that has driven this decision? That is the only logical reason he is allowing hotels to open and not individual rentals. Since the federal government and most states agree that individual residences is the safest place during this pandemic, how could he in any good conscience not allow them to open when he does allow public gathering spaces with community gathering areas, rooms that are entered daily by people who have been in all the other rooms, and amenities that are used by the masses, instead of a single family between cleanings. This is a clear bow to an industry in need of a money grab while devastating small business owners, who have paid more than their share of taxes, unnecessarily. Feels like the political wheels are once again getting greased at the expense of those out there trying to make a living.

    • 1974Gator

      May 7, 2020 at 10:26 pm

      Not to take the corporate side BUT hotels and condos employee many more people and bring Much more associated revenue and taxes to Florida than the home rental owners. Economically it makes sense.

  • KLM

    May 7, 2020 at 5:43 pm

    Wow! Banned huh??? I find it interesting that I have watched “rental homes” fully BOOKED by people from out of state throughout the entire “ ban on rentals” Covid19 time period. Maybe “ Wren Rentals” should be looked into and investigated for completely blowing off the state ban 😲

  • Mark Blood

    May 7, 2020 at 9:32 pm

    Dear Governor DeSantis,

    I am one of many law-abiding citizens who has hunkered down at home for the past few months, wears a mask and follows social distancing. I applaud the controlled way this state is re-opening, and agree with the Phased approach. But to not allow vacation rentals to re-start is very disturbing and impactful to many of us. We can control the cleaning and sanitizing of our property better than a public facility – and we are literally and directly harmed financially by being shut down.

    I voted for Governor DeSantis but will say that this very much appears to be him pandering to the corporations, the hotel chains and lobbyists, who are being given a free pass to open weeks ahead of time, while individual vacation rentals are not allowed in Phase 1 under threat of criminal prosecution. Thanks a lot Mr. Governor, for nothing. Thanks for not caring about a section of your constituency!

    Think of this – with corporate bailouts, small business loans and salary forgiveness, CARE payroll compensation, Federal stimulus and FL Re-employment, seems like everyone is being compensated except vacation rentals! How are we supposed to pay the taxes, fees and mortgages on a property sitting idle while all the hotels around it are opening up for guests?!?!?

    I, for one, am incensed and want this Governor to know that this is in no way acceptable, and this will make a huge difference the next time he comes around looking for my vote. We need to add vacation rentals to Phase 1 right now.

    And I will do my level best to pass the word. Thank you.

  • Janet

    May 10, 2020 at 3:22 pm

    I own a short term rental in Florida. The rentals help me pay for my house in retirement. It sleeps six people maximum. All enquiries I tell them if they book and the ban is not lifted I will give them a full refund. I tell them they can book a hotel but not a STR. Many have done that

    I have laid off my house cleaner and she is suffering. I continue to pay gardener and pool maintenance, orkin pest control. HOA etc.etc If the ban is not lifted soon I will no longer carry these expenses and I will layoff three people and sell the home.

    My next vacation home will be in Arizona

    • Dee

      May 13, 2020 at 7:46 pm

      Hi, I have called the Governor’s office / Florida….and left messages several times last week , governor’s office never responded….. I manage multiple Vacation condo properties located on a well known Resort….does this mean I can accept new reservations. I have not done so but the order is ambiguous to me.
      Documentation referring the answer will be appreciated.
      Thank you!

  • Anita Stinson

    May 13, 2020 at 10:29 pm

    Absolutely ridiculous!!!! Hotels. Motels. Why would a single standing house be treated any differently? For those with home rentals, I hope you have already contacted your attorneys.

Comments are closed.


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