Florida lawmakers don’t reach a deal on vacation rentals

vacation home sunset

Florida lawmakers again could not reach an agreement on a plan to address vacation-rental properties, with a key senator pledging to continue working on the issue next year.

Lawmakers have repeatedly wrangled in recent years with issues about vacation rentals as the use of platforms such as Airbnb has skyrocketed.

But lawmakers have not been able to reach an agreement, in part because of constituents’ complaints about problems with vacation properties in their neighborhoods.

Residents have pointed to loud noise at “party” houses and issues such as parking and trash.

Sen. Nick DiCeglie, R-Indian Rocks Beach, sponsored a proposal (SB 714) this year that would have allowed cities and counties to register vacation rentals and suspend or revoke registrations if property owners failed to follow local ordinances.

But the House balked at giving local governments such power and this week stripped from DiCeglie’s bill the proposed authority to suspend or revoke registrations.

Under current law, the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation issues licenses for vacation rentals.

A House proposal would have allowed local governments to create registries of vacation rentals but kept sanctions against the properties in the hands of state officials.

The House plan would have allowed local officials “to know how many vacation rentals are within their jurisdiction,” Rep. Wyman Duggan, R-Jacksonville, said Tuesday.

But as lawmakers prepared to end the legislative session Friday, DiCeglie urged senators to reject the House’s changes.

He called vacation rentals “the top issue” for residents in his beachside community.

“We have just got to get this right. … We have a fundamental conversation to have. What is the proper role of government when it comes to vacation rentals?” DiCeglie said.

The senator pointed to a 2011 law that “preempts” local governments from banning vacation rentals or restricting their use.

“The vacation rental industry in 2011 is significantly different than what we are witnessing and experiencing right now in our neighborhoods. And I am committed to finding that balance to get it right because I want my neighbors to be able to sleep a full eight hours at night. I want my neighbors to know that this legislature worked their tails off to strike that balance,” DiCieglie said.

Supporters of vacation rentals argue the properties bring in supplemental income for Floridians and are an integral part of the state’s tourism industry.

©2023 The News Service of Florida

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