Airbnb rules could change under proposed bill

Bill to update city of Jacksonville code filed

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Changes could be coming to the way Airbnb and short-term rentals are operated in Jacksonville.

City Council is considering a bill that would bring new regulations. It would require a registration system with the city while limiting the number of available bedrooms to three with two adults per bedroom. The bill requires the owner to occupy the property during the rental period. 

View the bill

Homeowners would also have to attend a training course and have a minimum of $1 million in liability insurance.

This is a big concern for local travel agent, Scott Lara.

“That makes no sense at all. Homeowners already have homeowner’s insurance to protect the home or if something happens in the home. And to protect people in the home. That makes no sense at all," Lara said.

He believes it will hurt tourism in the long run.

“The number one reason people use Airbnb and these short term rentals is because they’re inexpensive, they’re nice homes, and the homeowners do a nice job making folks feel welcome. It’s a great thing for everyone," Lara added.

But Councilman Jim Love, who is sponsoring the bill, disagrees. Love said this is about leveling the playing field with short term home rentals and updating city code to include room for them.

“It allows for Airbnb's in a responsible way, and that’s what I’m trying to do; bring our code up to the 21st century so that we can allow for Airbnb's in residential areas.”

Other changes include certain rules regarding designated parking spaces, off-street parking, plus compliance with city safety codes. It would also require that a point-of-contact aligning with the registration be accessible at all times. Short term rentals also could not be used for any commercial or social event such as, but not limited to, weddings, luncheons, banquets, parties, meetings, or charity or fundraising events.

City leaders are slated to discuss the proposed legislation next week. 

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