and Video Courtesy of The Orlando Sentinel
By Gray Rohrer
January 18, 2018
TALLAHASSEE – About 50 supporters of a bill that
would eliminate local rules on vacation rentals gathered at the Capitol
on Tuesday, urging lawmakers to take up the measure.
“Attacks from the
hotel industry to stop us from renting our home are in
my opinion a transparent attempt to crush the perceived
competition from middle class homeowners,” said Lisa
Robertson, a Destin homeowner who rents her home out to
Hotel industry groups like the American Hotel and
Lodging Association are opposed to relaxing regulations
on short-term vacation rentals, which have ballooned in
recent years thanks to online app platforms like Airbnb
But the industry fight is taking place in cities and
counties, where reports of all-night parties and loud
music in residential areas have led some pass ordinances
cracking down on vacation rentals.
Despite a 2011 state law banning new local ordinances restricting
vacation rentals, Miami and Miami Beach passed their own laws to come
down hard on home owners offering short-term rentals. In Miami Beach, a
first time violation can result in a $20,000 fine.
A bill filed by Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, would
eliminate city rules that are currently grandfathered in.
Steube’s SB 1400 would place all regulation of houses rented
out through app businesses like Airbnb in the hands of the
state, and allow for annual license fees of $1,000.
“To me it’s all about private property rights,” Steube said.
“I have seen all throughout the state where local
governments have been infringing upon that right and telling
you what you can and cannot do with your property.”
A different bill, HB 773, from Rep. Mike LaRosa, R-St.
Cloud, would keep the pre-2011 ordinances but require local
laws on vacation rentals to apply to all residential houses.
The House passed LaRosa’s bill last year, but a similar measure failed
to get through the House.
So far this year, neither bill has come up for a vote in either chamber.
The legislative session is scheduled to end March 9.