News Analysis: Floridians Favor Local Over State Control of Short Term Rentals

Short term rentals have slowly become an issue with Floridians as polls show that voters across the state support the right of homeowners to rent out their property to vacationers.

In recent years, the debate across Florida has focused on whether short terms rentals should be regulated by state lawmakers in Tallahassee or if local city and county officials should be making decisions on them.

Recent polls show the majority of Florida voters support local governments on the matter. A recent St. Pete Poll of 1,400 Florida voters taken for Florida Politics shows almost three-quarters of Florida voters–74 percent–think local governments should be able to regulate short term rentals while only 12 percent say the state government should have that authority.

SurveyMonkey conducted a poll of 14 communities in Flagler County which showed support for local control over short term rents with more than 90 percent of those surveyed supporting local control on short term rentals. Survey responses were submitted anonymously on Survey Monkey which precluded participants from responding more than once. The survey was designed to elicit responses from a resident’s (rather than a vacationer or investor/business owner’s) point of view. There were 409 responses between February 25 – March 1.

Who should have authority over short term rentals is increasingly becoming a hot issue in beach communities across Florida.

“We have residents that support renting rentals as vacation homes and we have residents that don’t support it because the renters leave the place a dump when they leave,” said former Vero Beach Mayor Jay Kramer. “Residents feel this has an ill effect on their local property values.”

Kramer told Florida Daily that this has increasingly grown into a contentious issue at Vero Beach City Council meetings.

“Politicians talk about supporting local control yet every year Tallahassee keeps pushing these bills to take away local authority on issues like short term rentals,” Kramer said.

The debate could be heating up again as the Legislature is weighing bills from state Sen. Manny Diaz, R-Hialeah Gardens, and state Rep. James Grant, R-Tampa, which would take away local authority on regulating short term rentals. Groups like the Florida League of Cities (FLC) and the Florida Association of Counties (FAC) oppose these proposals, insisting they are in direct opposition to what residents want.

 

Contact Ed at Ed.Dean@FloridaDaily.com.

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