Courtesy of Florida Politics
Published February 25, 2020
Proposed regulatory uniformity for short-term rental
platforms is ready for the House floor after Thursday’s Commerce Committee.
Despite robust protest from local officials and others at committee stops
for Rep. Jason Fischer‘s bill (HB 1011), the consensus was in favor of state
preemption over the patchwork quilt of local regulations.
The Senate version (SB 1128), filed by Sen. Manny Diaz, awaits its final
Fischer, a Jacksonville Republican, introduced a strike all amendment to the
Changes included an anti-discrimination clause, checks against sexual
predators, requirements of platforms to collect taxes and check licensure,
as well as assurances that homeowners’ associations’ rights and
grandfathered regulations would not be impeded.
The strike all got support from some previous critics, including a
representative of management companies.
CEOMC Executive Director and Lobbyist Mark Anderson lauded the removal of
“conflicting language that would have allowed short term rentals in our
neighborhoods and states clearly that this bill ‘shall not’ supersede a
neighborhood’s rules and deed restrictions.”
However, cities such as Jacksonville Beach still asserted that state
regulation would offer insufficient consumer protections.
The industry backs it, however, and the amendment is part of the bill.
Familiar concerns were rehearsed by the Florida Association of Counties,
Florida League of Cities, and the Mayor of Jacksonville Beach, the latter of
whom suggested the “public service” thing to do would be to vote it down.
Democrats, despite the changes, weren’t all comfortable with the
legislation, expressing concerns about localities being limited in terms of
how they can control this sector and the rights of adjacent property owners.
The bill would change how short-term rentals, such as Airbnb, VRBO, and
others are regulated, with platforms required to verify state licensure.
DBPR would hire 19 people to run the program, with more money possible for
state coffers from license fees, sales taxes, and fines. Local
jurisdictions, meanwhile, could expect a “negative fiscal impact.”
The legislation would take effect when and if the Governor signed. Sponsor
Fischer has coordinated with DBPR to ensure the agency is ready to take over
the tasks from dozens of localities, many of which have robust portfolios of
The proposed legislation protects from local regulation rentals offered via
an “advertising platform,” which provides software and online access to
listings for “transient public lodging establishment[s]” in the state.
The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association representative expressed
concerns about a “sufficient base of state regulation,” though worries were
somewhat quelled by the strike all.
Platforms will have to have mechanisms for taxation and require licensure
for listing, but concerns still remain about the state’s ability to enforce
Just as the state regulates public lodging (hotels and motels) and food
service establishments, so too would it regulate Airbnb, VRBO, and the like
via Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR).
Regulations of such are only permitted if they apply to all properties,
including long-term rentals and owner-occupied homes.
Laws passed before June 2011 will be grandfathered. However, laws from the
intervening nine years would be limited, with local zoning not just
“singling out” short-term rentals.
In turn, owners of rented properties have certain obligations.
Primary among them: A display of their Vacation Rental Dwelling License.
The bill also has provisions that tighten regulations on the short-term
rental services themselves.
Among them are requirements for display of license, sales tax, and tourist
development tax information.
Quarterly verification is required, along with a stipulation that
noncompliant properties are removed from platforms within 15 days.