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Friday, March 24, 2017

City Commission goes back and forth over AirBnB

At Thursday's City Commission meeting, the City Commissioners went head-to-head with Mayor Tomas Regalado. Commissioner Francis Suarez used the word "embarrassing" to describe the Mayor's resolution to make AirBnB illegal in the City of Miami. The Mayor was not amused.

Commissioner Suarez felt that the current zoning laws already prohibit AirBnB's practices of allowing for short term rentals on a continuing basis by residents and felt that the job was for zoning and law enforcement to enforce the law. In my own neighborhood we've been trying for months to have an illegal sign removed and zoning has been falling all over themselves to avoid the issue. The City does not enforce zoning codes in my humble opinion.

Commissioner Keon Hardemon said that people have been renting out properties for short term usage for years, long before there was AirBnB and an internet. He said that whether the resolution passes or not, it will still be business as usual unless the law is enforced. He said, "It's about money and profit for property owners."

Commissioner Suarez said that he does not receive complaints from residents about AirBnB being in their neighborhoods. The Mayor said that he does receive complaints.

There are about 1000 AirBnB "hosts" in residential neighborhoods according to Tom Martinelli of AirBnB, who was at the meeting. They are acting illegally according to most commissioners. Suarez asked if the city could sue AirBnb, which brings back the subject of Code Enforcement not doing their job - if the neighbors are breaking the law, why would you sue AirBnB and not the neighbors who are breaking the law?

Contradicting himself, Suarez said the platform itself is not illegal. It's the end-user who is breaking the law.

Commissioner Ken Russell described the whole AirBnB thing as "people sharing their homes." And when you think about it, what if a homeowner had friends visiting once a week or once a month but they weren't charging their guests. Would it be the same thing? Would it be illegal? I visit New York quite often, I stay in hotels up to maybe 50 days a year, although I have stayed at AirBnB locations a few times, but I could easily stay at my cousins' homes and I did many times over the years when I was younger - for as long as a month at a time sometimes. Were they breaking the law? Was I? I wasn't paying them, but I was going through the motions.

I have a neighbor who has wild parties at least once a week. They are loud and there are lots of people there. He lives there full time. Is a quiet AirBnB visitor better than a noisy permanent neighbor? So many questions.

In the end the Commission voted 3-2 in favor of the Mayor's resolution to curb AirBnB, and the City Attorney will look into the issue of being able to sue the platform itself. Suarez and Russell voted against the resolution.

Even with the Mayor getting his way regarding the new resolution, I see it as words and nothing more. If our code enforcement people don't enforce the codes, it's all a moot point.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree with you completely. The law is on the books. The City needs to show leadership and make sure the law is enforced. Otherwise, stop the b-s.

March 24, 2017 8:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Agree with Mayor's resolution to make AirBnB illegal in the City of Miami. We have laws and place that need to be followed by the all and be enforced by the city. This is a three way issue. Home owners and apartment owners not following the rules in place, city not enforcing the rules, and AIR BnB knowingly aiding and providing the vehicle and platform. AirBnB are only looking out for their interest. They know very well that it is an illegal activity they provided the tools and then when this happens they come out and try to make a deal. The problem is theses deals are made but if the statutes, regulations are not changed it is still an illegal activity. To sum it up you are providing transient rental and therefore you fall into the business of providing lodging, just like Hyatt, Hilton, Ritz.... in which they all have licenses to run as such. If you serve food then: Florida law defines a bed and breakfast as a family home structure with no more than 15 sleeping rooms that provides accommodation and meal services generally offered by a bed and breakfast. DBPR licenses:
Lodging (hotels, motels, apartments, bed & breakfast inns, timeshare projects, and vacation rentals-condominiums and dwellings)
Free standing restaurants
Fast food services (takeout and delivery)
Mobile units that serve hot dogs and/or full food service
Bars that serve food. If you property is zoned for residential then you can not be running a commercial business from it as you do not have the proper zoning. If we take this route what is the next business I can run from my house a night club with rooms to rent and provide food all with out a liscesne? interesting reading from the Florida bar:!OpenDocument

March 24, 2017 9:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This from the Miami Herald from a person complaining to the Mayor:
Activist Graciela Solares, a former candidate for Miami City Council and former president of the Miami-Roads Neighborhood Civic Association, said she has been “victimized” by Airbnb, which has depressed the quality of life in her neighborhood. Solares said there are short-term rentals on her block that attract people she does not know.

“There was some individual that looked Middle Eastern, tattooed from head to toe. And why do I know he was tattooed from head to toe? Because he used to wear shorts this big,” she said, placing her thumb and index finger an inch apart, “and used to go to the Wainwright Park every day to play basketball — I guess.”

“These are the kind of people that come into your area. People you’ve never seen before, people that we don’t know where they came from, what kind of criminal background they have.”

One of the rules of Airbnb is that you are not allowed to discriminate. Solares seems to be "victimized" by people that look "Middle Eastern". So if a home is rented to a person of color or different sexual orientation than Solares, she is victimized? What a bigot!!! And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the person complaining to Regalado.

There are hundreds of airbnb's in our area. All those people spend money in the Grove and Miami. Where do you think the artists stay during the art show? What about our sailors that return year after year for the regattas? What about the Grandparents that want to visit that can't afford our overpriced hotels? What about all those taxes you can collect to help all our citizens?

Well, Solares and Regalado, as you victimize the people that are trying to pay their bills and the businesses that will lose out as a result of your ban, we will, in turn, remember who you two are supporting in the next mayoral election. And Grace, please stop the Peeping Tom routine on your neighbors. It's disgraceful. Glad you don't live near me!!!

March 24, 2017 9:35 AM  
Blogger James said...

The other question I have is if people that are renting their homes out as AirBnBs are still applying for a homestead exemption. Because it seems like it would be an unfair double dip to rent out your place, and also get a big time tax break. According to the property appraisers website, if you rent out your property for more than 30 days in a year you are not eligible for the exemption. While opposed to AirBnB I would be more open to it if the Renters would bypass the exemption.

March 24, 2017 9:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Call it progress when enforcement is distributed unjustly? The mayor is obviously in the hotel lobby's deep pockets.

March 24, 2017 11:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Change is coming... we can either stick our heads in the sand or we can figure out how to adopt it with ideas that benefit everyone involved. Politicians who act in absolutes only hurt us. There are pros and cons on both sides. Instead of grandstanding, I want my politicians to have an open and unbiased discussion.

Just like it have taken us a while to assimilate Amazon and now Uber... we need reasonable people making these decisions. Act now or get run over.

March 24, 2017 4:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one ever brings these issues up --

Liability - it's only a matter of time until someone cracks their head open on the pool patio while staying at a home as an AirBnB tenant. Homeowner's insurance does not cover this type of use. Lie about it and say it was a friend and they will search like houndogs before paying any insurance claim. Get ready for a lawsuit.

Also a matter of time before someone rents a room with the ill intention of staging an accident just to get some money out of you.

Also, your mortgage company does not allow this type of use. If they find out you may be in breach of your mortgage contract.

March 25, 2017 4:34 PM  
Anonymous swlip said...

your area. People you’ve never seen before, people that we don’t know where they came from, what kind of criminal background they have.”

LOL. Welcome to Miami.

March 25, 2017 9:20 PM  
Blogger reid prevatt said...

Jame s was correct. homestead exemption..... But remember one bad apple makes the whole thing seem like "what a dumb idea" So they spend money here, get a hotel.

March 27, 2017 9:56 PM  

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