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Governor DeSantis vetoes vacation rental bill

Governor DeSantis vetoes vacation rental bill
Governor DeSantis vetoes vacation rental bill

Governor DeSantis vetoes vacation rental billGovernor DeSantis vetoes vacation rental bill

Governor DeSantis vetoes vacation rental bill

TALLAHASSEE – Governor Ron DeSantis has vetoed a measure to regulate vacation rentals, saying the proposal would create “bureaucratic red tape” for local governments.

Vacation rental regulation has been a sensitive issue for Florida lawmakers for years, as advertising for accommodations on platforms like Airbnb has exploded.

This year’s bill (SB 280) – a focus of Senate President Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples) – was also controversial: The Senate voted 23-16 in favor and the House of Representatives passed it 60-51 in the final days of the legislative session.

Proponents of short-term rentals claim that they provide homeowners with additional income and boost tourism. Critics, however, complain that noise, garbage and traffic problems caused by changing visitors negatively change residential areas.

DeSantis’ veto sparked mixed reactions.

“This is a difficult issue where there are property owners on both sides who should have a voice in the process,” Nick DiCeglie, a Republican from Indian Rocks Beach who is sponsoring the bill in the Senate, said in a text message. “We have worked hard to pass legislation in both the Senate and the House that addresses the concerns of all parties involved. While I disagree with the governor’s decision, I understand his concerns.”

But Melbourne Beach Mayor Alison Dennington called DeSantis’ veto “wonderful.”

“It seems like he realizes that there should be some kind of local registration, that we should be allowed to do this, and that this is going too far,” Dennington told the News Service of Florida.

Dennington suggested that DeSantis set up a working group to study the problem.

“I would love it if he would form some kind of working group with legislators, municipal and construction officials, some kind of regional working group. Maybe then we could come back next year and propose better laws. That would satisfy both sides on some of these issues,” the mayor said.

The bill addressed one of the most important points of contention in recent years: the “anticipation” of state regulation of short-term rental properties.

The bill would have banned local ordinances or regulations enacted after 2011 that prohibit vacation rentals or regulate the duration or frequency of rentals. It would also have eliminated registration programs that many coastal communities had adopted as the use of online platforms such as Airbnb increased.

The bill would have preempted regulation of vacation rentals to the state while allowing local governments to implement short-term rental registration programs that meet certain parameters the local programs might require. The bill would have granted “grandfathering” to regulations passed by counties before 2016 – an exception that applied only to Flagler County, home of House Speaker Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast.

The bill would have prevented local governments from “enforcing existing ordinances or adopting new local measures that would apply exclusively to vacation rentals,” DeSantis wrote in a veto letter on Thursday.

“Under the bill, any such measure must apply to all residential properties. The effect of this provision will effectively prevent any local regulation of vacation rentals, even though vacation rental markets are far from uniform across regions of the state,” the governor wrote. “I encourage the Florida Legislature and all key stakeholders to work together going forward, with the understanding that vacation rentals should not be viewed as a one-size-fits-all issue.”

The vacation rental bill had sparked a clash between two powerful industry groups in the run-up to DeSantis’ veto.

The bill faced fierce opposition from vacation rental management companies, coastal community leaders and Florida Realtors, an influential real estate industry group whose members urged DeSantis to reject the measure.

“The bill fails to strike a balance between the right of private property owners to rent their properties on a short-term basis and the ability of local governments to regulate those rentals,” a Florida Realtors website states. Visitors to the site can email complaints about the bill directly to the governor’s office.

Meanwhile, the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, another politically important industry association, also called on its members to urge the governor to sign the law.

“We were proud to work with the bill sponsors to pass this important bill this session as a solid framework and first step toward regulatory reform in the industry,” Carol Dover, president and CEO of the Restaurant and Lodging Association, said in a prepared statement Thursday evening. “We are disappointed by Governor DeSantis’ veto, but will continue our efforts to work toward a resolution and ensure equity across Florida’s lodging industry – from vacation rentals to hotels – to best serve our guests and ensure their safety.”

But in an interview with the News Service in March, Dennington called short-term rentals an “existential threat” to single-family housing.

“Because a mini-motel pretending to be a single-family home zone, in the middle of every street zoned for single-family homes, is not a single-family home zone. … It’s a commercial enterprise. Period,” she said. ¦