Florida lawmakers advance bill allowing state to oversee vacation rental regulations

The legislation would create uniform rules for rental properties

(Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
(Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

A bill that would allow the state to take over vacation rental regulations — eliminating local government authority — has cleared a Senate committee. The bill would allow for continuity across Florida, a state in which many municipalities have their own set of regulations, according to one of its authors.

Under the proposed bill, vacation rental properties would be regulated like hotels and motels, meaning owners who hold five or more properties are obligated to semi-annual inspections by the state, according to the Daily Business Review.

The bill, which on Tuesday passed the state Senate Community Affairs Committee, would also require hosts to provide the state with emergency phone numbers to be would be shared with local governments, according to the publication. It now heads to the Senate Regulated Industries Committee before being voted on by the full Senate.

The bill is actually a merged version of ones proposed by state Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota; and state Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs.

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Those who oppose the bill say they want local regulators to have more control to install and oversee regulations. Vacation rental ordinances passed before June 1, 2011, would remain, according to a bill amendment.

In October, the Miami-Dade County Commission approved a slate of new regulations for short-term rentals.

Airbnb has already secured tourist tax agreements with a number of Florida counties. In May, Miami-Dade collected and remitted $522,000 in tax revenues, and Broward County collected and remitted $191,000 in tax revenues. [DBR] – Amanda Rabines