“Florida taxpayers do not get to pick and choose which laws to follow or what taxes to pay, how much to pay, and when to pay. Airbnb should live up to its stated commitment to transparency and payment of taxes, and provide the proper data to tax authorities and the public.” (Read more)
“What sense does it make that unlicensed Airbnb property owners are not held to the same standard as traditional, licensed bed and breakfasts? To protect consumers, requirements like proper insurance, fire safety codes for commercial properties, existing local zoning laws, and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act should be applied evenly to the short-term rentals next door. A simple solution would be requiring short-term rental operators to register like any other business and be required to provide the license/registration number in every advertisement.” (Read more)
On demand platforms offering short-term rentals, like Airbnb, have found a place in Florida’s economy. When we see grandma using Airbnb to rent out a spare room that helps supplement her social security income, we marvel at how technology has given us new ways to use, and profit from, the things we own. But some people are taking advantage of this emerging industry.
Investors, often those from foreign countries, are buying up properties for the sole purpose of renting them out like hotel suites using Airbnb and other short term rental platforms. By operating in this manner, they’re essentially running a hotel business, but dodging the requirements and protections to which real hotels must adhere. These illegal hotels put your safety and property values at risk. Not only are illegal hotels not playing by the rules, but they are also not paying their fair share in taxes.
ILLEGAL HOTELS NEXT DOOR
These unregulated hotels operating in residential areas drive huge profits while disrupting communities and posing safety concerns for guests and neighbors. Do we really need to explain what Spring Break in your condo or neighborhood looks like and how it affects your property value? Residential communities are simply not zoned or designed for commercial traffic and use.
FLORIDA: A HOTBED OF ILLEGAL HOTEL ACTIVITY
Miami is one of the largest epicenters of illegal hotel activity in America. A recent study shows how landlords are getting rich from listing short-term residential properties full-time. These operators raked in $47 million in just one year. That’s nearly 40% of Airbnb’s revenue in the region. That’s not home sharing, that’s a commercial enterprise.
CLOSE THE ILLEGAL HOTEL LOOPHOLE
Unfortunately, the regulations governing this type of activity haven’t caught up with the times. Meanwhile, Airbnb is doing whatever it can to hide the growth in commercial activity on its platform from policymakers and the public, arguing that only grandma is posting on its site. That’s why we are urging Florida’s state and local lawmakers to strike a balance and close the “illegal hotel loophole.” Lawmakers need to act in order to protect communities and ensure all commercial lodging operations are operating as such.
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AirbnbWATCH Florida Launches Effort to Protect Floridians from Illegal Hotels in Residential Areas that Disrupt Communities & Pose Safety Concerns
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Tallahassee, Fla. – AirbnbWATCH Florida, a neighborhood watch group of concerned individuals and organizations, today launched its effort to bring attention to illegal hotel operations in residential areas that are disrupting communities and posing safety concerns for Floridians.
“We’ve got a year-round Spring Break happening next door to us with new people we don’t know coming in and out at all hours of the night,” said Tom Alderson, a Seminole County resident who lives next to a house rented on Airbnb. “It’s not only bad for our property values, it’s horrifying when strangers start showing up in your neighborhood night after night. Legislators shouldn’t wait for Airbnb to move in next door to them before regulating this. They won’t like it either, that’s for sure.”
Over the past 3-4 years, the home-sharing industry has grown exponentially with companies like Airbnb rising in popularity, especially in high-tourism states like Florida. However, instead of Airbnb being the concept that it was spurred from, this industry has created a new type of host, a commercial operator that buys up properties from the housing market for the sole purpose of renting them out like hotel suites – often multiple units available for rent year-round – using Airbnb and other short-term rental platforms.
“What sense does it make that Airbnb’s unlicensed property owners are not held to the same standard as traditional bed and breakfasts?” said Florida Bed and Breakfast Inns Executive Director Patricia Detwiler. “To protect consumers, following fire and safety codes, operating in accordance with existing local zoning laws, and complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act should be applied evenly to the short-term rentals next door. I say a simple solution would be requiring short-term rental operators to register and be required to publish a license number when advertising.”
“I’ve joined this group of likeminded, Florida-based individuals and organizations because it is time our voices are heard and these growing number of commercial investors, who are many times from foreign countries and coming in and profiting from illegal hotel operations and disrupting our communities, are stopped,” said Stefano Frittella, owner of Pelican Hotel in Miami. “Residential communities are simply not zoned or designed for commercial traffic and use, and Florida is becoming a hotbed of illegal activity.”
As an example, close to home, Miami is one of the largest epicenters of illegal hotel activity in America. A recent study conducted by Penn State University School of Hospitality shows how landlords are getting illegally rich from listing short-term residential properties full time, raking in $47 million in just one year – that’s nearly 40 percent of Airbnb’s revenue in the region – making it no longer home sharing, but a commercial enterprise.
To increase awareness of these illegal hotel operations that are disrupting communities and posing safety concerns to residential areas in Florida, AirbnbWATCH Florida members have begun distributing yard signs to concerned neighbors across the state.
State and local lawmakers need to hear from you as they debate short-term rental regulations. Tell your local elected officials we’re counting on them to protect property values and to close the “illegal hotel loophole.” Airbnb has the right to exist, but illegal hotel operators should have to play by the same rules as Florida’s hoteliers.
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