The Florida VRMA will be participating in the 2018 Tourism Day, sponsored by the Partnership for Florida’s Tourism, by hosting a rally in support of vacation rentals on January 16th at 11 a.m. at the Capitol Building (Register for the event).
Florida VRMA’s rally comes at a needed time. The Florida 2018 legislative session goes into gear this week and features several bills related to vacation rentals.
Senator Greg Steube is wrote the “Florida Vacation Rental Act”, this bill would significantly change the regulation of vacation rentals in Florida and in a good way. This act creates a new section of Chapter 509 for the Florida Statutes to taking short-term vacation rentals out of the definition of “public lodging establishments” and regulating them separate from hotels and motels.
The bill recognizes the constitutionally protected rights of property owners to rent their property and reaffirms that vacation rentals are residential in nature and belong in residential neighborhoods. Furthermore, the bill would transfer all regulation of the vacation rental industry to the state, preempting local regulation of the industry.
The Florida Vacation Rental Act creates a regulatory scheme that requires the licensing of short-term rentals and creates a mechanism for property managers to rent multiple properties under one license. It creates an enforcement structure to prevent past violators and various convicted criminals from obtaining licenses. The new law creates a uniform vacation rental inspection program, which would be led by a statewide agency, not by localities.
Furthermore, the bill subjects vacation rentals to sales taxes (Chapter 212) in the same manner as transient rentals. It exempts vacation rentals from the Landlord Tennant Law (Chapter 83) and laws related to Real Estate Brokers and Sellers (Chapter 475).
Senator Steube’s SB 1400 “Florida Vacation Rental Act” will create a uniform set of rules for vacation rentals to operate in the state, by maintaining most existing state law relating to vacation rentals, consolidates all inspections to a state agency and preempts communities from creating local regulations of vacation rentals.
This bill is not friendly to the vacation rental industry. The bill coins the term, “commercial vacation rental” and creates rules that apply only to non-owner occupied units. Local governments gain the ability to regulate vacation rentals, essentially eliminating the 2011 and 2014 state pre-emption of local regulations on short-term rentals. Finally, a violation of local ordinance potentially could allow localities to revoke, deny renewal, or refuse an application for a vacation rental operating license.
Representative Mike LaRosa authored HB 773 a supportive bill of the industry. This bill proposes to allow communities to regulate short-term rentals, as long as those regulations are applied fairly across all residential properties in the same community. It keeps the state’s current pre-emption authority in place and adds a provision that clarifies that this pre-emption includes when amendments are made to make duration and frequency requirements less restrictive.
This proposal would require that all short-term rentals would need to display a valid registration number in all advertisements and listings.
Currently, the Florida counties can collect a Tourist Development Tax on hotel stays and vacation rental stays of less than 6 months to assist in paying for a variety of activities. These activities include tourism promotion, upkeep of a publicly owned convention center and beach improvements to name a few. This bill would allow communities to utilize these funds to acquire, construct or maintain other public infrastructure that will last longer than 5 years. This includes sewer projects and road improvements. Opponents of the bill argue that this will take away funds to promote the state as a tourism destination.
Florida VRMA Lobbyist, Lori Killinger, Senator Greg Steube, Representative Mike LaRosa, speaking at VRMA National 2017.