Part of Miami Beach short-term rental law still valid, court rules in reversal
- Oct 13, 2020 | Jennifer Sokolowsky
Miami Beach’s short-term rental law will be allowed to stand, minus its steep fines, after an appeals court reversed a decision from earlier this year. In the reversal, the Third District Court of Appeals ruled that while the city’s high fines are illegal, that doesn’t invalidate the rest of the ordinance.
This summer, the court ruled against the city, upholding a previous court decision that struck down the entire law due to the city’s heavy fines for short-term rental law violations.
Miami Beach started levying fines starting at $20,000 and going up to $100,000 in 2016. In 2018, the Goldwater Institute filed a lawsuit challenging the law on behalf of a Miami Beach short-term rental owner.
In October 2019, the Miami-Dade Circuit Court invalidated Miami Beach’s short-term rental law based on the fines. Florida state law bars local governments from fining residents more than $1,000 per day for the first infraction and $5,000 per day for repeat violations. The city continued to enforce the law while it appealed the 2019 ruling.
After the latest decision, the original plaintiffs in the case said they’re considering their next steps.
Meanwhile, Miami Beach city commissioners have passed a new short-term rental fine structure designed to bring the fines into compliance with state law.
Miami Beach bans short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods, allowing them in only a few areas. The city tripled the number of short-term rental investigations over the past five years and issued more than $8 million in fines.
Last year, Airbnb made an agreement with Miami Beach that makes it easier for the city to enforce its existing short-term rental law. Airbnb agreed to include city-issued business tax receipt numbers and resort tax registration certificate numbers on every Miami Beach listing.
Along with obtaining business and tax licenses, Miami Beach short-term rental operators are required to collect lodging taxes from guests for the city, Miami-Dade County, and the state.
Vrbo and Airbnb collect state and Miami-Dade County lodging taxes on behalf of their hosts, but they don’t collect Miami Beach city taxes, so hosts are responsible for taking care of those themselves.
MyLodgeTax can help short-term rental hosts automate and simplify lodging tax compliance at the city, county, and state level, including tax registration and filing. For more on short-term rental lodging taxes in Florida, see our state Vacation Rental Tax Guide. If you have tax questions related to vacation rental properties, drop us a line and we’ll get back to you with answers.