Flagler County Attorney Al Hadeed last week made a presentation about the proposed state preemption for advertising platforms for short-term rentals as part of the education forum for the Florida Tax Collectors Association. Tax collectors are responsible for collecting Tourist Development Tax – also referred to as resort tax, bed tax, local option tourist tax, or transient rental tax.
“It is important for tax collectors to keep abreast of all things that may affect short-term vacation rentals and the bed tax collected,” Hadeed said. “I am honored by the invitation to speak to the Florida’s Tax Collectors and their staffs.”
Hadeed, who has served in his role as county attorney for more than 20 years, is well versed on vacation rentals. Along with County Commissioners, he presented the Flagler County’s case to the Florida Legislature to restore home rule authority over short-term vacation rentals. The legislation, successfully enacted in 2014, reinstated local government regulatory authority.
The county used the new authority to enact an ordinance that has been the model for many local governments across the state.
“We were also required to defend the ordinance in court against a broad attack by the short-term rental industry,” Hadeed said. “Owners of rental properties filed over $22 million in Bert Harris damage claims against the county.”
The State of Florida enacted the Bert J. Harris, Jr., Private Property Rights Protection Act in 1995, which provides a specific process for landowners to seek relief when their property is unfairly affected by government action. Under the act, a claim exists if a governmental entity inordinately burdens an existing use of real property or a vested right to a specific use of real property.
“Flagler County prevailed on the legal issues and the claims were settled and dismissed with no monies paid to the rental property owners,” Hadeed said. “The 2014 reform legislation that we advocated for along with many other local governments remains the law to this day.”
For his continuing efforts, the Florida Association of County Attorneys in 2018 recognized Hadeed for his distinguished service in representing the interests of Florida’s local governments on vacation rental issues.
The association in 2019 appointed Hadeed to two committees during its annual conference. He was named Vice-Chair of the Finance and Tax Committee – a committee he previously chaired for 5 years (he declined the position as Chair because of his workload for Flagler County) – and the Amicus Curiae Committee (which means “friend of the court”).
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