TAMPA, Fla. – The saying “we live where the vacation” is coming into focus this month as lawmakers look to regulate thousands of rental properties across Florida.
The state senate is readying a bill that would preempt local governments, giving the state the power to regulate vacation rentals, from advertising to registrations, parking and more.
As locals grow more frustrated by raucous parties and annoying neighbors, senate leadership believes this bill will pass in the coming days.
Jared Higginbotham, who owns multiple vacation rentals in the Bay Area, says this will take away options for renters.
File: Vacation rental
“We’re trying to allow guests to live like locals, and if it’s in the city’s best interest to keep tourists away from the locals, then we are no longer selling the same product anymore,” said Higginbotham. “The guests will get less options, maybe more consistent quality, but that’s the very beauty of our industry the choice, if they do this the consumer will lose choice.”
This bill was first discussed at a committee meeting in December, where the sponsor of the bill introduced his proposal, but it did not come without controversy from his colleagues. Some said uniformity shouldn’t be coming out of Tallahassee, but individual cities know what their individual needs are.
“The whole goal here is to try to lay out a uniform set of regulations for vacation rentals,” said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Nick Diceglie. “There’s been concern from the vacation rental owner folks that this is a little too onerous.”
“I believe Governor DeSantis said it best when he said for us to be micromanaging vacation rentals, I don’t think that is the right thing to do,” said the opposition in the room.
For a decade, lawmakers have struggled to come up with a plan for vacation rentals and to have the state government take more control, but local officials have been fighting back.
This bill still needs to go on the floor of the House and Senate before even getting to the governor’s desk. But with thousands of rentals in the state — from Airbnb to VRBO — a lot of eyes will be on this decision in the coming weeks.