June 2016 Legislative UpdateJune 1, 2016
How Vacation Rental Legislature Affects Fort LauderdaleNovember 3, 2016
The Florida VRMA
September 2016 Legislative Update
FIGHTING BACK AGAINST LOCAL ORDINANCES
In the past few weeks, Indian River Shores and Fort Lauderdale have introduced ordinances that harshly regulate vacation rentals. Miami Beach is currently reviewing the number of citations issued against vacation rentals in the past six months. The Pinellas County mayors are advocating for statewide repeal of our preemption. These proposals are no different than those we've seen and continue to see, in other areas of the state, but they are still concerning. For vacation rental owners, these proposals highlight the importance of developing relationships with your local elected officials.
Most vacation rental ordinances are introduced as a reaction to complaints from citizens who live near or next to vacation rental properties. Local politicians assume that these complaints are coming from voters and may also think that the owners or managers of the vacation rentals don't live in the area and are not voters themselves. As a result, the city local officials may feel that they can support a strict anti-vacation rental ordinance without any political fallout. By the time the ordinance is up for consideration, it's too late for the vacation rental industry to counter act any misinformation.
As a vacation rental owner or manager, how can you fight back? First, support FL VRMA! Next, get involved in your local politics. Start by educating yourself on how your local government is set up and who the key players are. Know when local offices are up for election and reach out to those candidates. Unlike state and federal races, local elections generally have smaller budgets and target smaller numbers of voters. This means that hosting a single fundraiser for a city council candidate, for example, could really make a difference.
For sitting elected officials, it's never too early or late to start building relationships. Set up meetings with your local elected officials and their staff to educate them on our industry including the benefits of job creation and economic dollars. You can even offer to take them on a tour of your properties.
These sorts of activities will help show your local elected officials that vacation rentals are an important part of the community.
Of course, all of these activities must be done legally and ethically. Remember that Florida's open meetings and public records laws apply to all local officials. This means that any communications you have with elected officials are subject to public disclosure, and two or more elected members of the same local government cannot meet with you at the same time. It's always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the local election and ethics laws for your own protection as well. FL VRMA can help you with that.
For local ordinances that have already passed or may pass in the immediate future, there may be legal options available. FL VRMA and LLW may be able to help in these matters. With a little effort over the course of time, each of you will be able to do your part in helping out local officials understand the great and beneficial asset the vacation rental industry is to our state.
The monthly Florida VRMA Legislative Update is written and coordinated by our Florida VRMA Lobbyist, Lori Killinger and our lobby team at
Lewis, Longman & Walker, PA
Paul Hayes, Florida VRMA, President
Denis Hanks, Florida VRMA, Executive Director