Vote of the Regulatory Reform Subcommittee Fell Mostly Along Party Lines
As our many local government clients know, the Becker Team has been intimately involved in lobbying against the many attempts to limit their ability to manage the vacation rental crisis. The issue continues to severely impact cities of all sizes. We continue to be involved every day to see these efforts fail. At the same time, we want to keep our clients updated on developments both negative and positive.
The Florida House of Representatives took another step today in advancing HB 219, which seeks to preempt local governments from passing their own regulations dealing with vacation rentals. The bill passed the Regulatory Reform Subcommittee in the House along a mostly party-line vote of 10-7, with Rep. Will Robinson joining all Democrats on the committee in dissenting.
The legislation sponsored by Jacksonville-area Representative Jason Fischer also shifts regulatory oversight, as it relates to licensing and inspections, of public lodging establishments – including vacation rentals, and public food service establishments – to the Florida Division of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). “The bill allows the ability of a local government to abate nuisances like party houses,” said Fischer. “Locals will attain the ability to regulate against bad actors…this bill does not legitimize vacation rentals where they currently are not permitted.”
Rep. Dan Daley of Coral Springs raised the issue of the proliferation of vacation rentals in certain areas impeding on the availability of affordable housing. Rep. Fischer responded, making an argument about defending private property rights. Rep. Angie Nixon, also a Jacksonville-area legislator, questioned the capability of the DBPR to regulate these kinds of establishments when it takes so long in many instances for local governments to take final action on certain problemed properties through their own inspection processes.
The bill further prevents local governments from imposing, or collecting fines and fees relating to regulation of vacation rentals or enforcement. Analysis by House staff conceded that this bill will have a negative fiscal impact on the revenues of local governments.
HB 219 will next go to the Ways & Means Committee once placed on the agenda by the Chair. Its companion in the Senate, SB 522, will first be heard on February 16 before the Regulated Industries Committee.
Becker’s State Lobbying Team will continue to monitor these developments as they evolve and will share with you as soon as information becomes available.