Courtesy of The Orlando Sentinel
Published March 1, 2019
As the Florida Legislature reviews numerous legislative
proposals this session, a key issue impacting Florida’s neighborhoods and
homeowners will be proposed legislation to pre-empt the ability of local
officials to enact and enforce appropriate regulations on short-term
Similar legislation has been proposed in past years without success, and
this year’s proponents have already jumped into the ring with SB 824, which
seeks to give lawmakers control over local short-term rental ordinances.
This is an issue that continues to increase in relevance as the number of
short-term rental properties across Florida keeps growing. This is no longer
just an issue facing tourism hot spots like South Beach. The short-term
rental market has seeped into residential neighborhoods across Florida, as
investors seize the opportunity to acquire homes, apartments and condo units
for the express purpose of serving as short-term rental properties. Our
communities and residential buildings are becoming pseudo-hotels, replacing
neighbors with transient renters.
There is a distinction between homeowners renting out their home or second
home in order to earn extra income and commercial operators renting out
multiple units, solely as short-term rentals, in the same community. The
latter is essentially operating a lodging business, but without the zoning
and safety regulations as a traditional lodging business.
The property rights of homeowners should be protected. But that works both
ways, and the rights of homeowners living in areas with short-term rental
properties should also be taken into account.
That is why it is critical to reject legislative proposals that seek to
overrule city and county officials’ ability to regulate short-term rentals,
including ordinances that require public hearings where residents can make
their voices heard.
Florida is a diverse state, made up of a wide range of communities. Local
residents should have a voice in the decisions that impact their individual
communities, and our local officials should have the ability to bring those
voices forward in enacting common sense regulations that best fit the needs
of their communities.
As home to more than 3.5 million residents age 60 years or older, our state
prides itself on providing a promising quality of life for retired persons.
Allowing commercial investors to operate unregulated illegal hotels in
residential neighborhoods and buildings does not fulfill that promise.
Our elected lawmakers in Tallahassee should not put the interests of
out-of-town commercial operators above the safety and well-being of their
On behalf of Florida’s Silver-Haired Legislature, a statewide senior citizen
organization chartered since 1978 including former judges, teachers,
doctors, business owners and former elected officials, I urge the Florida
Legislature to oppose proposed legislation that would pre-empt the ability
of local governments to regulate short-term rentals operating in their