Florida Politics: Opponents strike back on Ashton Hayward’s Airbnb commercial

Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward was the star of a television commercial that began in Tallahassee last week in which he extolled the virtues of vacation rental homes in Pensacola and Airbnb for marketing them – but opponents of that company’s legislative agenda are striking back this week, with a new video starring Hayward. (Read More)

Financial Times: Airbnb Plans Five More Complexes After Its First Florida Apartments

A new report from Financial Times confirms last month’s rumors that Airbnb will launch a new apartment complex in Florida in partnership with a real estate firm. (Read More)

Flagler Again Takes Vacation-Rental Case To Tallahassee as New Battle Lines Are Drawn

Flagler County is at the forefront of defining the regulatory approach and the short-term rental industry pushing back, often at the expense of home rule. (Read More)

Troy Flanagan Op-ed: Florida Lawmakers Must Protect Tourism By Addressing Illegal Rentals

While online rental platforms provide people with a new method to access and advertise short-term rentals, there have also been many unintended side effects. (Read More)

Mashable Editorial: Airbnb Is Opening Its Very Own Apartment Building (That Sounds A Lot Like A Hotel)

“The home-rental company is working in partnership with a property developer on a branded 300-unit rental complex in Kissimmee, Florida that will bear a new name: “Niido powered by Airbnb.” (Read More)

Carol Dover Op-Ed: Protect Florida Tourists, Neighborhoods By Stopping Illegal Hotel Operators

While Florida has long welcomed vacation rentals into the mix of accommodations options for tourists – there exists a divergent, growing problem of bad actors exploiting online platforms like Airbnb and HomeAway to operate what amount to illegal hotels across the State. (Read More)

Daytona Beach News-Journal Editorial: Let home rule prevail on rentals

The growing short-term rental industry, exemplified by the online home-sharing service Airbnb, has sparked a debate about property rights and government regulation, and the effects it has on traditional commercial rentals and neighborhoods. It’s a debate that should be conducted in local communities, not decided in Tallahassee. (Read more)

Herald-Tribune Editorial: Let communities set rules on rentals

Republican lawmakers have been known to criticize Big Government overreach and argue for deferring to the government closest to people. We hope that several of those Republicans are members the Florida Senate’s Regulated Industries Committee, which is scheduled today to take up an egregious example of overreach, Senate Bill 188. (Read more)

Mayors Levine, Regalado hold anti-Airbnb meeting while protesters decry crackdown

On Monday, Regalado said the ban, which if passed would prompt Miami code compliance officers to “go after the people that are doing commercial activity in the residential areas,” is only the first step. The city will then look to extend the regulations to condo buildings. (Read more)

Wall Street Journal: Hoteliers Cast Airbnb as Fast-Growing Professional Rival

Industry analysis characterizes website as more like a sophisticated rental operation than a casual business. (Read more) ““It’s the commercialization of residential property, and that doesn’t have a place in our neighborhoods.”

Huffington Post: Who’s Protecting Airbnb’s Guests from Discrimination?

Airbnb is determined to exert its will whether a community wants it around or not. The company has shown little respect for established laws, zoning and regulations in municipalities and an unwillingness to compete on a level playing field with legal hotels. In San Francisco, for example, they passed a bill to their liking in the city council after a hyper-aggressive lobbying campaign, but then sued the city because they didn’t want their own tailor-made bill enforced. (Read more)

EDITORIAL: Why Locals Should Decide

A vote for home rule isn’t the same as support for strangling the home-sharing industry. Rather, it’s affirmation that local governments know better than Tallahassee how to craft regulatory frameworks that best fit their communities, and that they are more easily held accountable for their actions. (Read more)

Tallahassee Democrat: Airbnb’s Florida record seems less than transparent

“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)

Palm Beach Post: Airbnb threatens Florida B&Bs, endangers consumers

“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.


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.


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.


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.


Follow us on Twitter @AirbnbWATCHFL.


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.



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