There are two companion bills that take away ALL LOCAL CONTROL over short term rental properties working their way through the Florida House and Senate as we publish this edition (April 2019) of the Island Times. We'd like to be able to tell you that all of our representatives do not support this power-grab by the state, but Representative Andrade has indicated that he does support it and has already voted for the house version in his committee.
The bills are HB987 and SB824.
Here's the pertinent language from HB987:
"Section 1. Paragraph (b) of subsection (7) of section 16 509.032, Florida Statutes, is amended to read: 509.032 Duties.— (7) PREEMPTION AUTHORITY.— (b)1. The Legislature finds that:
a. Property owners who use their residential property as a vacation rental have constitutionally protected property rights and other rights that must be protected, including the right to use their residential property as a vacation rental.
b. Vacation rentals play a significant, unique, and critical role in the state's tourism industry, and that role, including the factors related to the ownership and operation of such rentals, is different from other types of public lodging establishments.
c. Vacation rentals are residential in nature, residential in use, and allowed in residential neighborhoods.
2. Except as provided in this paragraph, the regulation of vacation rentals, including, but not limited to, inspection, licensing, and occupancy limits, is preempted to the state.
3. A local law, ordinance, or regulation may regulate activities that arise when a residential property is used as a vacation rental, provided that such law, ordinance, or regulation applies uniformly to all residential properties without regard to whether the residential property is used as a vacation rental, as defined in s. 509.242, or a long-term rental subject to chapter 83, or whether a property owner chooses not to use his or her residential property as a vacation rental. However, a local law, ordinance, or regulation may not prohibit vacation rentals, impose occupancy limits, or regulate the duration or frequency of rental of vacation rentals. A local law, ordinance, or regulation may not authorize or require the inspection or licensing of a vacation rental. A court shall determine whether a local law, ordinance, or regulation complies with this paragraph. If an action is brought pursuant to this paragraph, the local government that enacted the local law, ordinance, or regulation shall establish by clear and convincing evidence that such local law, ordinance, or regulation complies with this paragraph."
Supporters of this legislation claim that they intend to regulate a "new industry," not take power from local government; however, the vacation rental industry is far from new, and registration with the state is ALREADY REQUIRED. We believe that this action is solely to prevent local governments from enacting ordinances preventing the building of more "HOMETELS" in residential neighborhoods, or prescribing minimal rental periods such as 6 months for residential neighborhoods. The House bill even goes as far as removing the grandfathering of local laws that were in place prior to 2011. We encourage everyone who values the quiet enjoyment that we expect in single family residential areas to call or email their state representatives and let them know that you OPPOSE these bills. Leave neighborhood planning to the LOCAL governments.
UPDATE as of June 2019: The bills mentioned above died in committee.