Gov. Ron DeSantis expressed concerns Monday about legislative proposals that would further prevent local governments from regulating short-term vacation rentals.
DeSantis said he hasn’t made up his mind on the bills (HB 1011 and SB 1128) but is “leaning against” the effort.
“We have 22 million people almost. We are a very diverse state. For us to be micromanaging vacation rentals, I am not sure that is the right thing to do,” DeSantis told reporters after a dedication ceremony at Florida A&M University.
“These are things where you’ll have kind of a quiet neighborhood,” DeSantis continued. “Then you will have someone doing this and there are parties going on and some of the residents get upset. My view would be, probably, that should be determined locally.”
DeSantis, who has lived on the East and West coasts of the state, said he’s expressed his views with members of the Legislature.
“Yay, good, thank you Gov. DeSantis, I agree with your comments, and what we ought to do is let that bill die in committee,” said Flagler County Commission Chairman Dave Sullivan this afternoon. Flagler County government has been at the forefront of preserving local-government regulation since the Legislature returned such authority to local governments in 2014–the culmination of a lobbying effort that began in Flagler, and was pushed through the Legislature by then-Sen. John Thrasher.
Sen. Travis Hutson, a House member at the time, went along, but was more reluctant, and has been more supportive of preemption since: he voted for the Senate bill in committee earlier this month.
“That’s a biggie,” Sullivan said of DeSantis’s statement, “that’ll encourage people like Travis Hutson to do what I just said.”
The House bill, sponsored by Rep. Jason Fischer, R-Jacksonville, and Rep. Mike La Rosa, R-St. Cloud, has cleared its committees and is ready for consideration by the full House. The Senate measure, sponsored by Sen. Manny Diaz Jr., R-Hialeah, needs approval from the Rules Committee before it could go to the full Senate.
Last week, the House Commerce Committee brought the two bills closer in alignment by adding language that would require online platforms such as Airbnb to collect and remit taxes on vacation rental properties, ensure that only properly licensed rentals are advertised and provide the state with specific information about the rentals.
In exchange, inspection or licensure regulations would be “preempted” to the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation, taking away regulatory authority from local governments.
Local governments would able to regulate issues such as noise, parking and trash, so long as vacation rentals are treated in the same way as other homes in neighborhoods. But that’s essentially nullifying local regulatory capabilities beyond those factors (such as local licensing, requiring a local contact or agent for complaints, and other regulatory issues more specific to vacation rentals), because it is pragmatically and financially impossible for a local government to inspect all residential households as it would need to inspect vacation rentals.
“We’re taking this on as something that’s important to our county,” Sullivan said. “We have an excellent ordinance that we put forward in the unicorporated area to handle all this. As you know the city of Flagler Beach’s ordinance goes back to 2008 and wouldn’t be affected by this.” But if the current legislative proposal becomes law, it would invalidate Flagler’s ordinance. “We fought the battle hard for two or three years and were successful. At this point we’ve decided we’re going to fight for our ordinance, we can’t take on the whole state on this.”
Sullivan said DeSantis’s statement about the diverse areas of the state should suggest to legislators that “there are places where it makes sense and other places where it doesn’t, so the governor’s statement makes perfect sense.”
Fischer said Thursday the proposal is about protecting property ownership rights and that many issues about vacation rentals are nuisance-related and could still be addressed locally.
“Nothing in this bill encourages the situation of a party house,” Fischer said. “Nothing in here would stop local governments from passing a noise ordinance and enforcing those noise ordinances. Those good-neighbor ordinances are still allowed, they just can’t target vacation rentals.”
Under current law, cities and counties cannot prohibit vacation rentals or regulate the duration or frequency of the rentals. But local governments are allowed to license and inspect properties.
Condominium and homeowner associations (that is, HOAs) would be carved out of the new rules.
Jacksonville Beach Mayor Charlie Latham told the House Commerce Committee last week that the issue has exploded the past few years as corporations have started buying homes in single-family neighborhoods for use as “commercial entities.”
Florida Association of Counties lobbyist Eric Poole told the committee that existing rules are already “friendly” to Florida’s vacation rental industry, which last year generated $1.2 billion in revenue through 6.6 million guests.
DeSantis’s stance raises the possibility of a veto, Sullivan said, which “might slow the bill actually ever coming to the floor for final vote.”
–FlaglerLive and News Service of Florida
Please support HB 1011 and SB 1128. Our local government is not listening, returning phone calls or emails, we are not being heard. We’re told that a 7-day minimum was written in the 1970s for certain sections of our city, yet when we have repeatedly asked to See it, nothing was produced. Proposed parking rules are unfair, our properties should have the same restrictions as any other like properties. We’re told that annual dues will be anywhere from $400-800 per property.
We support regulation, it just needs to be fair and support property rights for everyone. After all “Democracy is direct self-government, over all the people, for all the people, by all he people.”
ROGER CULLINANE says
Representative Fischer and Senator Diaz are wrong. They talk about protecting private property rights but ignore the property rights of millions of Florida residents, who are generally also voters. They suggest that problems like noise, trash, vehicles parked on neighbors lawns, etc. can be handled by enforcing local ordinances, just like would be done if residents violate the rules. They seem to not understand that enforcing the rules against residents works as residents learn not to do it again. Unfortunately, with the short term renters there is no learning curve as it is a different group of renters every week.
We need local control.
Kudos to our Governor.
Jane Gentile-Youd says
My heat is pounding ….e-mailed… called the Governor’s office today and forwarded Flagler Live Friday article and all comments proving the entire charade is Mafia styled operated. Airbnb actually paid Florida Senate Members ( including our own Travis Hudson) on the Industry Committee over $225,000 before a ‘committee meeting’…….. The Green Roof Inn I hope has room for every legislator who votes ‘yes’ to vacation rentals because they are thieves as well as mentally unfit to serve in public office and in the pockets of the latest ‘Mob’.
Please Governor veto SB1128/HB1101 ; can you also consider issuing an Executive Order to have every legislator – both houses be removed forthwith from public office and ‘Baker-Acted’ for being mentally incompetent? It’s worth a try….Keeping my fingers crossed that you will not allow your constituents to be victims of malfeasance. ( my opinion)
Rental properties are a nusuance to year around home owners. The home owners do no lawn maintance, no garbage maintance. Noise is a real problem. Harrassment is also a big problem from the renters. They do not respect laws or guidelines.
They walk through the dunes and leave trash everywhere.
The local governments “do not care or does the police come when called. Bad idea to leave it to local goverments.
We were vising friends in the Hammock and they live next door to a short term rental.
While we were eating dinner on their patio, there was a non-stop screaming baby in the rental next door.
Nothing against babies…but, think about that if you are for this bill.
I hope DeSantis goes forward with this and is not playing politics.
Jim O says
First of all, a big thank you, to Gov. DeSantis for understanding the issues surrounding HB 1011 and SB 1128. The fact that he is leaning means he “gets it”. Local rule of governance in our own communities is key to voting Floridians statewide. To Flagler residents please write to your local and state representatives to vote against HB 1011 and SB 1128. On a closing note, State Senator Hutson once again shows his true colors and says one thing in person and another with his vote. He is not what I want to represent me in the future on issues important to all Floridians. A special thank you, to Flagler County Commission Chairman Dave Sullivan for his continued support
Senator Hutson on all three committees that are hearing these vacation rental bills. This is corruption at its best. The Governor is correct this is a local issue. This is a private property issue to all full time residents that live in Florida. Where are there rights? These bills create a distinct separation of property rights. Pre and post 7/1/2011. 2011 Senate Bill 883 went to far. Our local municipalities should be able to use their local property zoning laws.They are the ones that are approving comprehensive plans and infrastructure for new communities not the state. In addition even with the local ordinances that have passed since 2014 the vacation rental industry has gained. Governor must veto these bills if approved.