Ileana Garcia files new bill to add transparency to vacation rental regulation and maintenance
It’s been years since Florida lawmakers largely won the battle with local governments over the regulation and oversight of vacation rental properties and the platforms that advertise them.
But a proposal from the Republican senator from Miami. Ileana Garcia would at least ensure that those responsible for maintaining the properties are locally accountable.
Florida law currently prohibits cities and counties from banning vacation rentals or limiting length of stay, among other things. Other measures to reduce local restrictions on the industry have failed to cross the finish line.
Garcia’s invoice, SB 92, is relatively modest. It is only intended to clarify that localities can adopt and enforce ordinances requiring vacation rental operators to provide local governments with contact lists for people who handle complaints about properties “and other immediate issues.”
The measure, which Garcia filed on Friday, is same as an invoice she sponsored the 2021 legislative session. That bill died without receiving a single hearing.
Vacation rentals are a lucrative and growing market nationwide, and Florida is no exception. A University of Central Florida to study of the state’s 25 counties found the industry’s impact exceeded $27 billion in 2018 – $16.6 billion in direct spending and $10.8 billion in indirect spending.
More than 14.2 million tourists stayed in vacation rental homes, or 11.2 percent of the 127 million tourists visiting Florida that year. That’s a moneymaking rate of $32,000 per minute.
For more than a decade, local governments overseeing vacation hotspots like Miami-Dade County have been at odds with state lawmakers over control of vacation rental properties and associated companies like Airbnb, HomeAway, TripAdvisor and Booking.com.
In 2020 and 2021, Republican Education Secretary Manny Diaz Jr. of Hialeah Gardens – then a state senator – legislation filed to give the state more power over vacation rental regulations and prevent local restrictions, including inspection and licensing requirements.
Had the bill reached the governor’s office, it would have allowed localities to regulate only rentals as they would other properties in the neighborhood, a control of local powers that cities and counties have long fought against.
Miami-Dade commissioners passed a resolution opposing Díaz’s bill, SB 522that died a committee before reaching a floor vote in the Senate.
This year, the Republican senator. Danny Burgess by Zephyrhills took the measure during the ordinary legislative session. Former Republican Representative. Jason Fischerwho supported Díaz’s earlier efforts, filed a accompanying invoice in the House. Both died before reaching the ground.
In Miami-Dade and other Florida counties, regulatory efforts in recent years have focused on streamlining how vacation rental platforms update their home listings, purge their list repeat violators of local standards and pay”bed taxto support tourism development.
In October 2020, the platforms were freed from the obligation to collect and remit tourism taxes when the Florida Supreme Court transmitted upon hearing a call of an advance ruling in favor of the companies, which said that while the platforms facilitate rentals, they are not themselves “resellers” like hotels under state law and, as such , do not have to follow the same rules.
Former Miami-Dade Commissioner Sally Heymanwho crafted the county’s local ordinance in 2017 establishing a fiscal and regulatory framework for peer-to-peer platforms, said miami today the first payment Airbnb made to the county alone was around $522,000.
Florida Politics reached out to Garcia’s office for comment but received no response by press time.
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