The next stop for a legislative effort to give cities and counties greater control over vacation rentals rented through online platforms is the third and final Senate Committee.
The Senate Appropriations Committee on Agriculture, Environment and General Government approved Sen. Nick DiCeglie’s bill (SB 714), largely on party lines, with a 9-5 vote.
The House has also introduced three bills that address the same issue. However, the one most similar to DiCeglie’s bill is currently in motion. Wyman Duggan, Republican Rep. (HB 833)'s bill has passed three committees. However, it has not yet been added to House Calendar.
DiCeglie, a resident of Indian Rocks Beach in Florida, said that he is aware of the issues created by 2011 legislation which prohibited local government restrictions for vacation rentals. He said he has one in front of his home.
DiCeglie stated that there were some problems at the local level. In the spirit of the bill, I want to give local governments some extra tools to deal what I have called since day one... bad actors. Those people who don't really care what time it's at, or how many people there are in the home at 2 o'clock the morning.
Cities and counties can now require vacation rental businesses to pay a registration fee and register. Airbnb and VRBO would be required to collect sales tax and submit it to the state.
The Florida League of Cities, as well as individual municipalities, say that it does not go far enough.
One of its benefits is that online platforms like VRBO.com and Airbnb will not be required to display the address of the rental property online. Indian Rocks Beach Joanne Cookie Kennedy, a constituent who sponsored the bill, said that this would give cities a powerful tool to enforce the registrations they have set up.
Kennedy stated that an illegal Airbnb was being run on the street adjacent to his. I can hear them regularly. They have RVs parked... and stay in their RV. There are codes in place that prohibit this. We have been in litigation for the past two years with them to try and get them to stop renting out these houses. One of the most important issues is that it is impossible to prove the exact address because we don't have one.
Debbie Mayfield, a Republican senator from Brevard County, said that she would vote in favor of the bill but insists it must allow municipalities and counties the funds they need to enforce laws to keep residential neighborhoods habitable.
She noted that people buy residential homes with expectations. She noted that people buy residential homes with certain expectations.
She said, "I don't fault them." They're on holiday. They spent a lot. It's fine if you stay up late and party.
She said she wants to see more equality in the rights of long-term residents.
Mayfield stated that he believes there should be more regulation in residential communities. If you're going to rent (a house) in a residential area, there should be more accountability.