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Vacation rental preemption left Ron DeSantis cold, but it’s back in 2021

By: A.G. Gancarski

Home Rule challenge back again with same House, Senate sponsors.

Bills to preempt local rules on vacation rentals appeared ready to pass in the House and the Senate before the Governor said he wasn’t a fan. Gov. Ron DeSantis told reporters last February he “expressed privately” his “concerns” about “micromanaging vacation rentals” as something that “should be determined locally.” While DeSantis has given no indication that he has changed his mind, the House will join the Senate in considering revived legislation as of Tuesday. Rep. Jason Fischer‘s revived HB 219 would change how short-term rentals, such as Airbnb, VRBO, and others are regulated, with platforms required to verify state licensure. Platforms will have to have mechanisms for taxation and require licensure for listing, but concerns still remain about the state’s ability to enforce its guidelines.

Just as the state regulates public lodging (hotels and motels) and food service establishments, so too would it regulate Airbnb, VRBO, and the like via Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR).

Regulations of such are only permitted if they apply to all properties, including long-term rentals and owner-occupied homes.

Laws passed before June 2011 will be grandfathered. However, laws from the intervening nine years would be limited, with local zoning not just “singling out” short-term rentals.

In turn, owners of rented properties have certain obligations, primary among them: a display of their Vacation Rental Dwelling License.

The bill also has provisions that tighten regulations on the short-term rental services themselves. Among them are requirements for display of license, sales tax, and tourist development tax information.

Quarterly verification is required, along with a stipulation that noncompliant properties are removed from platforms within 15 days.

The Senate version is being run by its 2020 sponsor, Sen. Manny Diaz, Jr. Both bills found traction. Fischer’s died on the House calendar, and Diaz’s had but one committee to go in the Senate.

Florida Politics reached out to Fischer for comment on the revived preemption push and whether DeSantis has warmed to the proposal and will update if he responds.

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