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Columns

Fight to Protect Property Rights Far from Over

March 16, 2018 - 3:15pm

In the final weeks of the 2018 legislative session, immense tragedy struck a quiet community right here in our state. Our elected officials rightfully focused their remaining time and energy on ensuring school safety and addressing mental health issues in the wake of the Parkland school shooting.

While legislators turned their attention to addressing these priorities, their bandwidth to tackle other issues was understandably reduced. Though legislation to create statewide standards for vacation rentals did pass committees in both the Florida House and Senate, ultimately time ran out and Senate Bill 1400 and House Bill 773 did not make it across the finish line this session.

Some special interests are promoting this as a win -- I challenge that narrative. Continuing to trample the private property rights of Floridians seems, to me, like anything but a victory.

The truth is, it is far too early for anyone to declare success just yet -- we are only in the midst of this discussion. As president, I personally guarantee the Florida Vacation Rental Management Association (FL VRMA) will continue to bring forth education and a fierce determination to fight for the rights of property owners across the state of Florida.

I assure you, this fight is far from over.

This year’s legislative session was, in reality, filled with small victories that added up to big gains for our cause. With each public discussion, the tide seems to be turning, we find we have more support than some may have expected, and important issues and hypocrisies are being brought to light.

These successes would not have been possible without the relentless work of Sen. Greg Steube and Rep. Mike La Rosa. We are so grateful for their faithfulness and continued determination to bring this matter to the forefront and promote bills that defend and protect the basic right of every Floridian to own and use their property to prosper.

I am confident we are getting close to our goal of reasonable vacation rental rules that are immune to the whims of unfriendly local ordinances. FL VRMA is working diligently with our partners and allies, including Airbnb and HomeAway, to ensure elected officials are educated and private property rights are protected, and we will continue to do so.

Property ownership is the American dream and should not be shattered by unfriendly local representatives and arbitrary barriers that make vacation rentals difficult or, in some cases, impossible.

 

Jennifer Frankenstein-Harris is president of the Florida Vacation Rental Management Association.


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Comments

When will this go back to the legislative session again? Also can you explain in your own words what Senate Bill 1400 and House Bill 773 means? from what I read it's in support of airbnb and in places like Orlando where they only want to allow it if the owner stays in the home with the guest which is silly they consider this to be "giving homeowners more rights" So if I read it correctly it basically will strip the local cities of their power to do things like this and create statewide registration which should allow for all types of vacation rental both with owner present or without right? I would love a write up of what it means to you in your own words since i'm not a politician. which i understand it all can change since it has to go through a whole other session.

These are the best comments on SSN ever!

If you were for renting out a single family home in a residential neighborhood to a long term tenant with a lease, I would be the first to applaud and fight for that right. In the case of "short term or vacation" rentals, it completely upends the reason we have zoning and other laws to protect the public. This is not a property rights issue but away to circumvent the very laws that communities have set up to protect citizens. I chose to live in a residential neighborhood with appropriate prohibitions against commercial uses including "hotel uses". That is my property right as it is for 99% of my neighbors. Let us not conflate the property rights issue with a crass way of making a buck which is what you champion.

Tom, THANK YOU! Your concerns are mine. Since there is already a law on the books prohibiting Home Rule on this issue, we as citizens and property owners, need to get that 2011 law reversed. There are many of us who are appalled, however are only telling each other. We need to contact the Governor, Attorney General, and every member of our Florida Legislature. Governor Scott and Attorney General Bondi were supportive of the preemption of local government which started this slippery slope. There are some in my community who are very concerned and have called, emailed, or written letters. If there isn't a major pushback our residential zoning will be meaningless. Thank you again for your thought provoking post. Now I ask those of you opposed to limiting the rights of residential homeowners who chose to know their neighbors, please ask others to call, email, or write. These laws will only benefit big businesses, not individual homeowners who have a connection to the community and rent to people who are also part of the community. Janice

Well said! Signed, Beach property owner who wants her right to quiet enjoyment of her abode.

Whew Ms. Harris... You & your organization are entitled to your opinion & to voice it (& I support everyone's free speech). But I pray there is a gigantic majority on the other side opposing rental vacation homes & that they communicate with their state legislators. Why don't you try living next door to a home that's been rented out for any amount of time? Let's say they are partying on week nights to 4am or 5am, & you have to get kids to school & yourself to work. Let's add the alcohol & cannabis use is excessive & intoxicated revelers vomit & urinate on your property. Let's add that some revelers pass out on their & your lawn from drunken excess & your kids see this on the way to your car. Let's say that the loud raucous fights when police had to be called were the previous night. Let's also add insult to injury & say that now you must go next door & find the owner of the car blocking your driveway so you can leave for school & work. In your picture you don't look old enough to have kids. I do realize this scenario isn't occurring at all rental vacation homes but I hear enough of these tales to absitively posolutely without a doubt want local & state big restrictions, limitations & RULES about preventing these rentals of yours. The unfairness is born by the neighbors & neighborhoods subjected to noise abuse, disrespect, excrement & trash left all over while vacation property owners & managers like yourself profit. So my dear, if rental of private homes to vacationers is to continue, "the rights of the many outweigh the rights of the few" (Spock) & I stand with home owners in wanting significant rules for these homes. Thank you for allowing my response.

Jennifer - You mean "your" property rights. Not "ours" - meaning those of us (most Floridians) who will have to live with the risks and crap "your" version of property rights leaves on the rest of us. It's called "privatization" of profit, "socialization" of risk. Get on with a functional civil society in which we all must live. If these considerations are "whims", then so be it.

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