Airbnb strongholds: Miami and Fort Lauderdale are home to half of all Florida rentals

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Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky speaks in San Francisco on April 19. In Miami, the service is closely watched by hoteliers who believe the business should be regulated in the same way as hotels.

The Airbnb home-sharing platform received a warm welcome in South Florida, home to nearly half of the state’s listings, according to data released by Airbnb on Wednesday.

Citing strong interest in Florida metrics on Wednesday, Airbnb first released a breakdown of its performance in the Sunshine State. Data is the most in-depth set of metrics the platform has released on any state.

Of the 16,100 Floridians who shared their home, or a room in their home, through the site in 2015, about 49% – or 7,910 – were based in the Miami and Fort Lauderdale area. South Florida hosts also made more money: an average of $ 8,740 last year, higher than the state average of $ 7,200.

More than half of visitors to Florida who stayed in an Airbnb in 2015 spent the night in Miami or Fort Lauderdale, or 408,800 out of 754,000 total visitors to Florida.

“This data shows how home sharing is creating economic opportunities for thousands of Floridians, while attracting more people to the Sunshine State to support our biggest industry: tourism,” said Michael O’Neil, regional head of Florida. Airbnb’s public policies, in a statement.

Although it is only responsible for welcoming a tiny fraction of visitors to Florida – less than 1% of the state’s more than 105 million overnight visitors in 2015 – Airbnb has been the subject of a scrutiny from hotel groups in recent months, who claim the platform is unregulated and unregulated. in the same way as other accommodation. Opponents argue that while Airbnb acts as a temporary rental, it doesn’t pay the same taxes as hotels. These revenues are used to market the state’s tourism industry.

“The real measure of how we do in our business comes from a busy hotel where you collect your tax from,” said Stuart Blumberg, former head of the Greater Miami and Beach Hotel Association. “You have a business that has people signing up… that doesn’t pay tourist tax.”

In Florida, Airbnb collects and remits transitional rental tax and statewide sales tax, as well as county-level resort taxes in 27 counties, excluding Miami-Dade counties and Broward. Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s office said Airbnb had submitted a proposal for the collection of the county’s resort tax. The county will “more than likely” be counter-proposed, Gimenez communications chief Michael Hernández said.

Settling the tax issue is the county’s priority, Hernández said. The next step would be to regulate the hosts who offer their properties for rent.

In Miami Beach, regulatory issues have caused safety, cleanliness and zoning concerns for residents who have complained about neighbors renting out their properties while living in areas where short-term rentals are prohibited.

Miami Beach prohibits the practice in all single-family homes and allows it in multi-family buildings only in specified areas. Fort Lauderdale limits the number of guests. Key West recently cracked down on home sharing, requiring licenses for rentals under 30 days.

Andrea Levinson, who sits on the board of directors of Bridgewater Tower condominium in North Bay Village, said illegal Airbnb rentals have created a “nightmare” situation for owners and tenants of legal units.

“Unit hosts are well aware that what they are doing is illegal when handing over unit keys and garage key fobs to third-party locations or asking Airbnb customers to avoid going through the door. security of our lobby because “the concierge is so busy,” “said Levinson. in an email in late May in response to a previous Miami Herald article on Airbnb. “The illegal guests we catch are banned from entering the building and escorted off the property, vacation rental dollars paid in advance are now forfeited.”

In May, a report from the American Hotel & Lodging Association claimed that the proportion of hosts using the platform for business purposes is increasing. At the time, Airbnb said the data was in error because it reflected properties listed as “available” on the site when in reality they were not. Availability is confirmed by the host when someone attempts to book accommodation.

New data released Wednesday gives more insight into how hosts are using the platform.

In Florida, the average host has rented their space for 41 days. In Miami and Fort Lauderdale, the average rental length was among the highest in the state, at 45 days. And, while statewide Airbnb has grown exponentially, averaging 149% in 2015, growth appears to be leveling off in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, where the platform has been more popular, increasing by 120% the same year. This is the smallest increase in the state.

Locals who support the platform’s growth cite its similarities to sharing economy cousin Uber, which earlier this year struck a deal with the county on regulation. went to bat with the county on the regulations.

“It seems to me that the more accommodation options the better,” said David Auslander of Miami, a member of the Miami Herald / WLRN Public Insight Network. “In the same way that Uber will finally force the modernization of our clownish taxis, Airbnb will raise the standard of hotels.”

This story was originally published July 20, 2016 6:48 p.m.

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