What Is It?

Florida House Bill 219 and Senate Bill 522 are companion bills in the Florida House and Senate which will specifically improve the vacation rentals industry.  House Bill 219 is in committee at present and the Senate version (522) will go before  the Regulated Industries committee February 16th.  This is the second time these Bills have been presented as, due to Covid-19 last year, they were temporarily postponed.

These bills will “preempt regulation of vacation rentals to state; prohibits local law, ordinance, or regulation from allowing or requiring inspections or licensing of public lodging establishments, including vacation rentals, or public food service establishments; requires licenses issued by Division of Hotels & Restaurants (DBPR) to be displayed conspicuously to the public inside the licensed establishment.”

Put in lay-man’s terms, they help regulate and ensure professionalism of all vacation rental management companies across the board.

Why do we need more regulations?

Florida has 26% of the US vacation rental market and these regulations will ensure that we are “the most outstanding professional vacation rental industry” out there.

The Florida Vacation Rental Managers’ Association (FVRMA) supports these bills, although they are the first to admit that there will need to be some “tweaking” in order to make them perfect.

Simply put these new regulations will ensure that every home is compliant, both with licensing and taxes.  If homes are allowed to remain in violation of these rules, this means that they are able to undercut competitor pricing, operate far from professionally and overall the lack of knowledge and experience required to provide guests with the perfect experience that they deserve.  It also means that any advertising will be regulated.  This includes Facebook and Craigslist, upon which it is estimated that 20,000 listings appear alone.  Cloning of listings is a big problem.  These Bills will hopefully make the listings more trustworthy.

Presently three levels of inspections are required for licensing, in many areas.  Some Management companies, depending on their location, have city, county AND State hoops to jump through in order to get licensed and regulated.  Simplicity for everyone will make the process easier.

The hotel industry isn’t very happy about these Bills.  They are constantly trying to push for more regulations on vacation rentals that they don’t even have to deal with.  There are many rules in place which curb the vacation rental industry, prohibiting the use of homes for vacation rentals.  This is in violation of state statutes.

What can Vacation Rental Property Managers Do?

Speak up!  Get involved!  Ensure the Vacation Rental Management Company they run is operating within the guidelines and official requirements mandated.  Encourage their homeowners to support these Bills and let’s ensure this industry is the best it can possibly be.