florida
The Florida state house [Credit: WCTV]

Florida short-term rental regulation slows down

US: Both houses of the Florida legislature are currently considering placing restrictions on short-term letting.

The senate bill, SB 1128, currently sits in committee and may stay there due to a lack of significant support.

Sponsor Manny Diaz said to Tampa Bay Business Journal: “This is kind of the time in session where you don’t ever say for sure one way or another, because anything could happen.”

The bill in question suggests that online platforms collect and remit taxes to the state. It also demands renters provide specific information to state regulators for tax collection and safety enforcement.

However, the bill would also pre-empt regulation to the state level. This would take the remit for short-term rental regulation away from local communities and transmit it to the state government.

This would be in line with current Florida legislation, which prevents local administrations from fully outlawing short-term rentals.

Both the house and senate versions of these bills have gone through major revisions, with members of the legislature proposing amendments that would hurt effectiveness. Furthermore, governor Ron DeSantis noted he was leaning against the bills, pulling additional support away.

According to WXTL Talahassee, he questioned the need for state-wide uniformity, rather than local, specific regulation.

Property owner Charles Deloney told the station: “It is best left to areas where it is actually taking place to understand and control the issues that best suits them.”

Communities across Florida have had mixed reactions to the rise of short-term rentals in their state. Miami Beach saw $168,000 worth of fines levied across misused Airbnbs during the Super Bowl, while a local 2018 proposal would have reduced certain short-term rentals to commercial areas alone.

Diaz added: “We’re still not there with the changes that … we needed to have enough votes. So we’re still working to make sure that all senators are satisfied with that bill.”

The house bill is currently awaiting a floor vote, while the senate bill currently sits in rules committee. With the 2020 legislative session ending soon, senators may wait to continue potential regulation.

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