Miami, Miami Beach Want To Limit Airbnb To Commercial Zones

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine have once again reminded Airbnb that they are “persona non grata” if they list people who rent out their homes in residential neighborhoods.

Short-term rentals are banned in Miami Beach except for certain buildings in certain areas zoned for commercial use. Miami Beach has imposed fines against those caught renting on Airbnb and has collected about $5 million in fines.

Mayor Levine said he likes Airbnb but only in commercial districts, not homeowners backyards.

“So what have we done in Miami Beach. We basically enforced our existing laws, we’ve tightened up our laws, and we just want to make sure to maintain the quality of life,” said Levine.

Miami takes a similar stance.

“Any commercial intrusion in the residential, single family home is illegal and code compliance will go after this resident,” said Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado.

Miami-Dade’s Property Appraiser Pedro Garcia has threatened to revoke the Homestead Exemption of those caught renting their homes to vacationers.

Airbnb fired back.

“The fact that they are not going after anyone else who may take on a boarder in their house, solely going after Airbnb, is probably going to make this unconstitutional,” said attorney J.C. Planas.

Airbnb recently announced that it had reached a tentative deal with Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez to pay the county bed tax revenue from people who rent out their homes on Airbnb.

The county’s agreement is an effort to place the community marketplace under some of the same regulations as its competitors in the hotel industry face.

Under terms of the agreement, Airbnb will collect Miami-Dade’s six percent resort tax from its 6,800+ hosts.

This will conservatively result in $8 million in new annual tax revenue for Miami-Dade County if numbers remain consistent with 2016. However, Airbnb host revenue in January/February 2017 rose 25% from January/February 2016, so the county could significantly see an increase from that number.

Miami-Dade is the 36th county in the state in which Airbnb has reached a deal to collect tourist development (or bed) taxes on behalf of its hosts.

“This deal facilitates the cumbersome tax process for our hosts in this world-class market and ensures payment of their fair share in taxes,” said Airbnb Florida policy director Tom Martinelli in a statement. “We expect that this agreement will drive many millions of dollars in new annual revenue to County coffers, on top of the economic infusion Airbnb guests already pump into the South Florida economy through spending with neighborhood merchants.”

The agreement is contingent on ratification from the County Commission.

There are 34 municipalities in the county, each of which can dictate if and where Airbnb can operate.

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