Last year legislation was filed for the first time proposing that vacation rental companies be required to collect and remit taxes on vacation rental properties to the State of Florida. In effect, the proposed law would pre-empt location regulation of the vacation rentals to the state, leaving local governments almost entirely out of the process. The only regulatory power local jurisdictions would have retained under the new law would be to impose the same rules and restrictions in place for other properties in an area or neighborhood. This suggested change did not sit well with local community residents and created controversy in many Florida towns and villages. Here is more on the recent developments with Florida’s vacation rental bill:
Florida Vacation Rentals
With its famous theme parks and stunning beaches, Florida is a popular holiday destination for millions of tourists each year. Not surprisingly, for many residents and investors, vacation rental properties are a popular source of secondary income in the Sunshine State. According to recent statistics, the short-term rental market is responsible for bringing 1.2 billion in revenue into Florida each year.
Under Florida law, cities and counties cannot prohibit vacation rental properties or regulate how often they are leased to tenants. However, these dwellings can be licensed and inspected by local municipalities. Cities and counties can also pass ordinances related to noise, parking, and debris in the neighborhoods where the rentals are located as long as they apply uniformly to all other area residential properties.
Private Owners v. Business Interests
Tensions can arise when neighborhood property owners have to contend with problems related to vacation rental use. When short-term renters have late-night parties, take up too much parking, or leave trash on the lawn, community members are the ones that have to endure the nuisance. For these reasons, private owners want their local governments to retain some authority to control how these properties can be used.
House Bill 1011
Last Year, House Bill 1011 (HB1011) was introduced proposing the imposition of state regulation of vacation rental companies such as Airbnb and VRBO. HB1011 would require rentals to be licensed and to include certain identifying information in their online advertisements. Under the proposed legislation, Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) would be responsible for overseeing issues across the state. Critics of the bill viewed it as taking away authority over matters that should be left with local governments. Ultimately, HB1011 was not made into law, having died on the House calendar on March 14, 2020.
Although HB1011 was not successful during this legislative session, it was popular with several lawmakers. Given the bill’s past support, there could be similar proposed legislation concerning Florida vacation rentals in the future.
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