Flagler County’s vacation rentals may operate again after a two-month hiatus forced by a governor’s order in response to the coronavirus emergency. Rentals may resume immediately.
Counties can submit vacation-rental reopening plans to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which will have to sign off on the proposals.
The Senate Rules Committee was scheduled to hear the bill (SB 1128) Monday, but bill sponsor Manny Diaz Jr., R-Hialeah, said the measure was postponed because he lacked the support necessary to get it out of the committee.
Gov. Ron DeSantis is expressing concerns about legislative proposals that would further prevent local governments from regulating short-term vacation rentals. The governor’s stance drew cheers from Flagler County Commission Chairman Dave Sullivan.
The Flagler County Commission included opposition to such pre-emption among its goals this year, as it has for the past three years. Flagler’s and other counties’ and cities’ opposition in previous years defeated deregulation attempts. The momentum this year appears to be with deregulators, however.
A long-running dispute over vacation rentals is heating up, as a Senate panel Tuesday approved a proposal that would give the state — not local officials — control over regulation of short-term rentals.
When lawmakers hit the road Saturday after ending the 2019 legislative session, they left behind hundreds of bills and issues that did not pass. But there’s always the 2020 session, which will start in eight short months.
The House bill approved today would eliminate local control and all grandfather clauses in vacation-rental rules, including those in Flagler and Flagler Beach, but Flagler officials say they’ll prevail in the end.
Flagler County government had staunchly opposed lawmakers’ attempts to eliminate local regulation of short-term vacation rentals, regulations crafted in 2014 largely at Flagler’s behest.
The Vacation Rental Pros office on Palm Coast’s Utility Drive was ransacked and keys to units stolen apparently by a tenant who used his unit possibly to print counterfeit currency.