Airbnb is declaring victory in its ongoing battle with the City of Miami. On Wednesday, a Miami judge issued a temporary restraining order in the company's lawsuit against the City of Miami for banning renters’ access to the popular homesharing platform.
Judge Beatrice Butchko of Florida’s Eleventh Judicial Circuit issued a temporary restraining order Wednesday evening, prohibiting Miami from enforcing its ban on short-term rentals in the South Florida city.
Miami has made headlines for its relentless attempts to squeeze out short-term rentals over the last few months, threatening to send code compliance to Airbnb hosts who spoke out at a recent City Commission meeting last month.
Butchko put the fears of hosts to rest -- as a result of that meeting, she also prohibited the city from requiring residents to provide their names and addresses when speaking at future City Commission hearings.
Last week, a group of five Airbnb hosts filed a lawsuit in the Miami-Dade County circuit court, alleging the City of Miami was infringing on their First Amendment rights and breaking state law by imposing harsh regulations on vacation rentals in South Florida's largest city.
Named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Yamille Bell, Ana Rubio, Gary Levin, Toya Bowles and Kenneth Tobin.
The hosts are mothers, fathers, teachers, doctors, immigrants -- but all share the common goal of hoping to share their city and earn extra cash by renting out their homes to tourists coming to South Florida.
Airbnb threw its weight behind the hosts and joined in the suit as well.
The lawsuit came on the heels of an ongoing battle between the home-sharing platform and the City of Miami, which is largely opposed to allowing its residents to rent out their homes. Mayor Regalado and Airbnb opponents say the platform causes noise problems and infringes on residents’ way of life.
Last month, a group of Miami property owners renting their homes out on Airbnb showed up at Miami City Hall, begging Mayor Tomás Regalado to reject a measure declaring their businesses an illegal nuisance.
According to the Miami Herald, Airbnb hosts pleaded with the mayor and city commissioners at the meeting, imploring them to end the war with Airbnb and give the hosts a fair shake.
But instead of reasoning with the hosts, the Miami City Commission voted 3-2 to declare Airbnb an “illegal nuisance,” effectively outlawing the vacation rental site altogether.
To make matters worse for residents, the commission then told the hosts who gave their names and addresses on the record they had outed themselves to code compliance, which means the city plans to come after them to hit them with a bevy of fines, all for renting out their homes on Airbnb.
Now, it appears the law is on Airbnb’s side, possibly putting a stop to attempts to squash out short-term rentals in Miami.
Airbnb said the ruling was a small win for the company and its hosts alike.
"On behalf of our Miami host community, we are grateful to the Court for giving this important matter immediate attention,” Airbnb said in a statement. “We are hopeful that it will result in relief and fair treatment for the 3,000 Miamians who responsibly share their homes on Airbnb."
Sunshine State News contacted Mayor Regalado’s office for comment but had not received a response at the time of this article’s release.