Avalara MyLodgeTax > Blog > State and Local News > Florida governor vetoes short-term rental bill

Florida governor vetoes short-term rental bill

  • Jul 2, 2024 | Jennifer Sokolowsky

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has vetoed a controversial short-term rental (STR) bill that would have invalidated recent local regulations and decreased local governments’ control over STRs going forward. Local governments, STR management companies, and the Florida Realtors opposed the legislation.

“Beyond creating new bureaucratic red tape that locals must comply with, CS/SB 280 prevents local governments from enforcing existing ordinances or passing any new local measure which would exclusively apply to vacation rentals,” DeSantis wrote in his veto letter. “Going forward, I encourage the Florida Legislature and all key stakeholders to work together, with the understanding that vacation rentals should not be approached as a one-size-fits-all issue.”

The Legislature passed SB 280 in March. It would have created a statewide database for STRs managed by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which would also enforce STR rules statewide. Local governments would be granted the power to require:

  • STRs to register and charge a “reasonable” registration fee 
  • Inspections of STRs along with an inspection fee
  • Designation of a responsible party who could be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to respond to emergencies
  • Occupancy limits of up to two people per bedroom, plus two more in one common area (more per bedroom if there is at least 50 square feet per person)

The measure also allowed authorities to levy fines of up to $500 for registration violations. They could suspend STR licenses if owners violated general laws (that didn’t apply solely to STRs) five times during a 30-day or 60-day period, or after two prior suspensions.

Under the law, STR marketplaces would have been required to include valid local registration numbers in listings and provide the state information on all STRs listed.

History of restricting local control over short-term rentals

Florida lawmakers have long limited local control over short-term rentals. State legislation passed in 2011 barred local governments from banning short-term rentals entirely or regulating the length of stays or their frequency. 

In 2014, however, the Legislature passed another law that allowed local governments more powers to regulate STRs in areas such as parking, garbage collection, and noise. The vetoed measure would have allowed stricter local STR laws passed before June 1, 2011, as well as laws passed after that date. The measure also exempted county laws introduced before 2016, which only applied to Flagler County.

Existing lodging tax compliance rules still apply

The vetoed measure would have required STR marketplaces such as Airbnb and Vrbo that collect payments from guests to also collect and remit state lodging taxes. These marketplaces already voluntarily collect and remit state lodging taxes on behalf of their Florida hosts. However, they may not collect local lodging taxes.

Florida vacation rental operators are required to obtain a state business license, register for a state tax certificate, and collect and remit state-administered lodging taxes when they receive payments directly from guests. Hosts may also be required to register with local tax authorities and comply with local lodging tax rules.

Avalara MyLodgeTax can help STR hosts automate and simplify lodging tax compliance on the local and state level, including tax registration and filing. For more on vacation 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.

Lodging tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Avalara Author
Jennifer Sokolowsky
Avalara Author Jennifer Sokolowsky
Jennifer Sokolowsky writes about tax, legal, and tech topics. She has an extensive international background in journalism and marketing, including work with The Seattle Times, The Prague Post, Avvo, and Marriott.
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Learn more about FL lodging tax rules