Florida Lawmaker Proposes Bill Standardizing Short-Term Rental Rules

Published March 2, 2017

The Florida Legislature is considering a bill that would prevent local governments from enacting regulations effectively banning homeowners from using Airbnb and other peer-to-peer economy companies to connect with tourists seeking short-term housing, such as for vacations.

If approved by lawmakers and signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott (R), House Bill 425 would prohibit local governments from enacting restrictions on the minimum duration homeowners may rent to other individuals through Airbnb or other short-term rental businesses.

Burdening Property Owners

HB 425’s sponsor, state Rep. Mike La Rosa (R-St. Cloud), says local governments in the state are imposing regulations to “make life harder” for property owners and consumers.

“The local authorities have gotten more creative in finding ways to make life harder for an owner who owns a property and wants to use it as a vacation rental,” La Rosa said.  

La Rosa says governments should be fair and equitable with their regulatory power.

“My thought on the whole thing is, why do you have to treat that property different from any other property?” La Rosa said. “If you want to create an ordinance, create it across the board. Don’t treat someone’s property any differently. That is just a direct violation of someone’s private property rights.”

‘Promotes a Free-Market System’

Sal Nuzzo, vice president of policy for the James Madison Institute, says equal treatment under the law promotes economic prosperity.

“I think the benefit is that it promotes a free-market system for short-term rentals,” Nuzzo said. “It also has the impact of creating a very consistent landscape for kinds of regulations between counties, between jurisdictions throughout the State of Florida, and it will inevitably help tourism.”

Nuzzo says the bill will encourage more people to visit Florida, benefitting the state’s economy.

“It will inevitably help to create a more-competitive environment for short-term rentals,” Nuzzo said. “For anyone that has utilized a service like Airbnb, I think that they come away from it knowing that their experiences go into the ratings and the viability of each individual. It creates a great framework for innovation, and it’s something that I think is going to benefit the state quite heavily.”