Miami Beach and AirBnB reach settlement on illegal operators

By Mike S Payton, Contributing Journalist

MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – On Friday, August 2, it was reported that the city of Miami Beach and Airbnb had reached a deal, after the vacation rental site sued the city over strict requirements and aggravating penalties.

Miami Beach, which receives millions of visitors each year, has struggled to strike a balance between the interests of residents and the tourism industry, Internet photo recreation.

The terms of the agreement are that Airbnb will provide a mandatory field for hosts to fill out when registering an ad, which will list the business tax information required by the city. However, Airbnb is not responsible for verifying that a host’s information is correct.

Miami Beach officials will need to verify that the registration is correct. Chicago, San Francisco, and Louisville also require Airbnb listings to display short-term rental certification numbers.

In addition, Airbnb will also donate $ 380,000 to the city, which can be used to “educate residents on the rules of home sharing.”

An Airbnb spokesperson said: “We welcome today’s settlement as a win-win step for Airbnb and our Miami Beach hosts as we move towards a constructive and collaborative working relationship with the city. . “

“This is a victory for our hosts who will have certainty about the rules and a victory for the city when it comes to having a regulatory framework that will work.”

One of the new rules in place since September is that the city is suing hosts who provide fake business license numbers in order to list their properties on the site. The penalty for the criminal violation is sixty days in jail and / or a fine of $ 500.

“The bottom line is that our code enforcement department is going to search Airbnb’s website and verify,” said Aleksandr Boksner, deputy chief prosecutor for the city of Miami Beach.

“This will facilitate the ability to cope with the application of correct display of numbers. This exposes the host to fraudulent criminal penalties.

Miami Beach, which receives millions of visitors each year, has struggled to balance the interests of residents and the tourism industry. The city prohibits rentals of six months or less in most residential areas, but allows them in a few areas.

To enforce this, the city has the most expensive fines in the country for illegal short-term rental – $ 20,000 for the first offense and $ 40,000 for the second, and an additional $ 20,000 for each subsequent offense.

Since 2016, when the fines were enacted, it is reported that the city has only collected $ 500,000, unlike the nearly $ 8 million in fines since June, according to the Miami Herald.

Miami-Dade County hosts earned a combined income of $ 204 million and paid $ 10 million in resort taxes in 2018, according to Airbnb.

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