Door could be slammed on vacation rentals plan

File photo
File photo (WJXT)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A controversial measure dealing with vacation rental properties appears doomed, as time runs out in the 2020 legislative session.

The Senate Rules Committee was scheduled to hear the bill (SB 1128) Monday, but bill sponsor Manny Diaz Jr., R-Hialeah, said the measure was postponed because he lacked the support necessary to get it out of the committee.

The Rules Committee is not scheduled to meet again before the session ends March 13, and even if it does, it appears unlikely that Diaz’s proposal will be on the agenda.

When asked by reporters if his plan would make it to the floor for a Senate vote, Diaz was non-committal.

“It's hard to tell at this point,” he said. “This is kind of the time in session where you don't ever say for sure one way or another, because anything could happen.”

The long-running dispute over vacation rentals has pitted local government officials against advertising platforms, such as Airbnb, in what has been one of the most intensely waged legislative battles.

The plan under consideration this year would require online platforms to collect and remit taxes on the properties that advertise on their sites. The platforms would have to ensure that only properly licensed rentals are advertised and provide the state with specific information about the rentals.

In exchange, regulation would be “preempted” to the state, largely preventing local governments from regulating vacation rentals. Local governments could only regulate the rentals in the same way as other properties in neighborhoods, a restriction that cities and counties strenuously oppose.

About the Author: