MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) — Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and Airbnb are at odds, even getting into a tiff with each other over the weekend and it was all taken to social media.
The exchange started with an article on the Sunshine State News that was critical of Levine’s hefty fines against anyone partaking in short-term rentals sites, according to our news partners the Miami Herald.
Short-term rentals are banned in the city except for certain buildings in certain areas. Those violating the ban could face a $20,000 fine – the highest in the country.
Airbnb Citizen, the company’s communications arm, posted the article and Levine responded over the weekend.
The mayor along with six commissioners have been opposed to reaching any agreement with Airbnb – instead imposing fines against renters who are caught. Within the year, they have collected about $5 million in fines.
Airbnb says Levine has ignored their requests for a formal meeting and replied to him by asking to speak with him in person. Mayor Levine responded.
The site responded saying it’s sad, claiming that 3,000 hosts on the platform in Miami Beach are afraid to speak publicly on the matter because they are afraid of retribution. Mayor Levine responded.
On Sunday, Levine again commented on the article – this time on Facebook. The mayor called the Sunshine story a “fake sponsored article” paid for by Airbnb. He called whoever wrote the article “fake journalists.”
In the post, Levine pointed out his strong opposition of short-term rental platforms saying it “destroys neighborhoods, buildings, decreases real estate values and increases costs for workforce housing.”
The mayor also pointed out he wants to further “tighten up short term rental laws” so that future leaders “don’t succumb to #CyberBullying.” The full Facebook post is below.