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AirbnbWATCH Newsletter - 12/1

12/03/2022 12:26 PM | Anonymous

State of Play

Just before Labor Day, another shooting occurred at a Florida Airbnb party house, leaving another person dead. This time, it was in a quiet Jacksonville Beach neighborhood. Since Spring Break, the state has experience a rash of shooting, assaults, and fights spilling out of vacation rentals into residential communities from Walton to Miami Dade County.

Airbnb announced around that same time that it's making permanent its ban on house parties with a staffer recently proclaiming in an Orlando Sentinel op-ed, "Airbnb protects communities from disruptive 'party houses'." Of course, the company has a long track record in the state of Florida of opposing even the most basic protections against unlawful and disruptive short-term rentals. Residents from The Villages, PlantationNeptune BeachEscambia County, and Walton County (just to name a few) have recently demanded action from policymakers as their quiet neighborhoods have been overrun by unlawful nightly rentals.

Between now and the start of 2023 legislative session, lawmakers will hold in-district delegation meetings. These meeting are designed for constituents (like you) who cannot make the mid-week drive to Tallahassee to participate in the legislative process. Each delegation meeting provides a time period for public comment. Make your voice heard. Follow this link to find your delegation hearing and make sure to submit comments - in person or via email if you cannot attend. More details are included below.

Arizona Republicans Reverse Course on STRs

Rental platforms have long desired to export an Arizona-style vacation rental law to Florida. Fortunately, Florida lawmakers have resisted, and now Arizona has reversed course after its neighborhoods have been overrun by house parties. The Republican Governor recently signed a bill approved by the Republican-led legislature that would empower municipalities to crack down on party houses in the state.

Legislative Update and Calendar

Florida lawmakers returned to the state capitol last week for organizational session, choosing their legislative leadership and outlining upcoming priorities. Legislators will gather over the coming weeks for a special session on property insurance and for committee meetings to workshop legislation ahead of the 2023 legislative session.

Neither the House Speaker Renner or the Senate President Passidomo have mentioned publicly that addressing the vacation rental issue is a top priority in 2023. However, both lawmakers' coastal districts face acute challenges on the issue. And, the Senate President has indicated that addressing housing affordability is a top priority for her.

The investor-driven "hotelization" of residential housing stock is a well-documented contributor to affordable housing crises in many communities. A Pensacola resident recently wrote an op-ed asserting that unregulated short-term rentals were removing workforce housing options for local residents.

As noted above, between now and the start of 2023 legislative session, lawmakers will hold in-district delegation meetings. Follow this link to find your delegation meeting and follow the instructions to submit a speaking card and address your local delegation. Tell them your concerns very plainly. Alternatively, you can email your local members and let them know that you cannot make the delegation meeting but are concerned about unregulated vacation rentals overrunning residential neighborhoods.

Legislation will be workshopped in the coming weeks. We'll keep you updated on developments. In the meantime, here are the key dates:

  • In-District Delegation Hearings - December 2-TBD
  • Committee Weeks - December 12-16; January 3-6, 17-20, 23-27; February 6-10, 13-17, 20-24
  • Regular Session Convenes - March 7
  • Regular Session Concludes - May 5

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