Senator Gruters, District 23 — Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 16, 2018
Rebekah Hurd, 850-717-5042
Senator Steube and Rep. La Rosa File Vacation Rental Legislation
~SB 1400 and HB 773 Statewide Regulation for Vacation Rentals~
Senator Greg Steube (R-Sarasota) and Representative Mike La Rosa (R-St. Cloud) today highlighted SB 1400 and HB 773 which aim to protect private property rights of vacation rental owners who have been unfairly targeted by a growing number of local regulations. Over the last several years local governments have attempted to restrict or outright ban vacation rentals – in violation of Florida state law.
“It is extremely disconcerting to hear stories from my constituents and other homeowners from across that state who are being targeted by their very own local officials for choosing to rent out their homes,” said Sen. Steube. “I believe this is nothing more than an effort by the hotel industry to put an end to vacation rentals which are a vital part of Florida’s tourism economy.”
An increasing number of local governments have recently been passing onerous regulations and some have even gone as far as fining private property owners for violating local ordinances to the tune of $20,000 a day.
“I believe that all private property owners should be treated equally, regardless of whether they choose to rent out their homes for one day, one month or one year,” said Rep. La Rosa. “Vacation rentals reflect both an industry and a travel experience that has existed in Florida for decades – long before popular online platforms such as Airbnb and HomeAway even existed. Vacation rentals give property owners a chance to earn additional income while driving tourists to local businesses in the community.”
Joining Sen. Steube and Rep. La Rosa at today’s event were members of the Florida Vacation Rental Management Association, the Airbnb host community, and HomeAway and its homeowners. The groups traveled to the Capitol to express their support for SB 1400 and HB 773 and to meet with legislators from their districts urging them to also support these private property rights measures as well.
According to a 2013 study commissioned by the Florida Vacation Rental Management Association, Economic Impact: Florida’s Vacation Rental Industry, vacation rentals have become a boon to the economy, infusing more than $31.1 billion from an estimated 17 million vacation rental visitors that year. The study also found that Florida’s vacation rental industry directly or indirectly supports over 320,000 jobs annually, generating more than $12 billion a year in labor income.
With the growth in popularity of online vacation rental platforms, those numbers are likely to have significantly increased in recent years, and for a state that relies heavily on sales tax revenue, that economic impact is significant.
It is also important to note that the growth of vacation rentals is occurring in parallel to hotel growth. According to Visit Florida, hotels throughout the state continue to see strong growth in revenue, pricing and occupancy. This suggests vacation rentals are introducing Florida to new visitors.
Senate Bill 1400 and House Bill 773 merely ensures private property owners are treated equally across the state regardless if they rent their home on a short-term basis, long term basis, or don’t rent at all.
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