US: After Miami brought in an influx of NFL fans for the Super Bowl last week, Airbnb properties are facing municipal fines for illicit operations, totalling $168,000.
A total of 17 properties were found to be operating in violation of city codes in the city of Miami Beach.
Airbnb itself is also being fined for improperly displaying tax receipts and registration certificates.
Miami Beach has imposed strict restrictions on short-term rentals, banning them outright in certain quarters of the city, and demanding planning permission for allowed areas. Knowing the increase in tourism because of the game, the city’s Code Compliance Board had increased their presence.
The majority of fines came from a single property that the city previously deemed to be a party house. Due to the property’s prior four violations, it garnered a $100,000 fine.
Airbnb is claiming that the property was not booked on its platform and had not been rented out since January. However, city officials discovered an advertisement on Airbnb, after which they discovered disruptive activities.
Jorge Hernandez, city compliance officer, told The Miami Herald: “The tenant did something they weren’t supposed to be doing, subleasing the unit. It is Super Bowl Weekend.”
The owner, Brian Marino, was fined an additional $1000 for the actions of his tenant. The city has been more diligent in fine collection after introducing a new structure in 2016.
Airbnb has generated controversy due to its perceived lack of action on rental issues. The company has been attempting to address them by de-listing major problem properties in Los Angeles and implementing a trial policy limiting rentals to over-25s after a fatal shooting in Canada.
However, Miami Beach’s trouble demonstrates the struggle that cities may have in controlling the presence of short-term lets in their cities.
Hernandez added: “People are becoming very creative; if somebody’s friends of the owner, there’s only so many questions that we can ask because we can’t really interrogate them.”