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Without notice, Airbnb is unilaterally deactivating listings in Miami & Miami Beach. Upon inquiry, I was informed it is to comply with local regulations against short-term rentals. This is going to shock a lot of people and catch them off guard. It was a nice ride, but it seems it’s over for now.
Thanks for reaching out to me today, I hope that this message finds you well. My name is Floriline from Airbnb’s Customer Experience team.
It seems that the reason as to why your listing has been deactivated by the system is due to Miami’s government regulations by not allowing short term rentals within the area. You may receive an email about this one of these days as we have just deactivated one of your listings.
Oh dear surely there must have been some news and discussion about the laws that were being brought in by your local government, as to when this legislation was being introduced, where listings were being deactivated if they weren’t in certain zones?
There was some hub bub about this in September when the City passed a criminal ordinance for it - but there was nothing that explained a January deadline for registering with the City, not from the City or Airbnb. The reality is Airbnb filed a lawsuit in Federal court & deactivated hundreds of listings on the same day. A similar suit resulted in an NYC Judge enjoining the City from taking this action - Airbnb is hoping for the same here in Miami. Let’s see how it all pans out.
Airbnb may have done this without notice but I’m sure you knew about the Miami area regulations and that something was coming down eventually. I think a lot of people are also going to be caught off guard by the software that exists to find listings. Strategies like telling guests to say they are friends and don’t mention Airbnb to anyone, and hiding listings during the work hours but turning them on nights, weekends and holidays won’t be effective.
This is a real challenge for Airbnb. There are over 80,000 government entities in the US with the power to regulate Airbnbs. Airbnb can’t fight them all. You are lucky to be a large market where it will pay to fight the fight.
Good news is that it’s just one, so far. I love this “you may get an email.” Really? So amateurish.
1st - I’d love to know how you and others on this forum can select specific blocks of text to respond to. Awesome.
2nd - yes, I did know or at least had passing knowledge of various legislation. However, both the County and Cities are notorious for lack of enforcement, usually they themselves will cite some filed lawsuit as the reason they aren’t enforcing whatever Code they passed while the challenge to it works it way through the Court. So this has lead to a general sense of security and people ignoring the Codes, myself included.
3rd - Spoke to my State Representative and found out there is actually a bill advancing through the State Legislature that would preempt all local laws and ban local municipalities from regulating short term rentals (the one time I find myself agreeing with Republican politicians). Obviously, nothing to hold one’s breath over, but its hopeful at least.
4th - Indeed, got the email - although it somehow ended up in my Spam folder. Its fairly straight forward - your listing is outside a legally zoned area, if you feel you’re entitled to an exception you can apply here ( link provided). The link takes you to the City’s registration website where you must verify your address and request an inspection.
Ahhh…so lets see how this plays. The main basis of another suit that is gaining traction is the discriminatory enforcement therefor invalidity of the law - the City is granting waivers to some people in restricted zones with no rationale basis while denying it to others. If the records for the approved properties are being withheld from public requests, so there seems to be something shady going on in City Hall in regards to some people being protected and others not. Same crap, different day in shady Miami.
It works on the mobile site too but I find it to be a bit more cumbersome. I hope you can figure it out from my poor instructions. It seems like my fingers just move the mouse so that it works. LOL.
One of those laws passed in TX and Austin, TX had to quit enforcing their ordinance. The thing about laws is that they can go both ways. I’d advise any host not to get too comfortable with the status quo on either side. The Airbnb concept is still very new and governments will take some time figuring out how they want to regulate it.
For some time I’ve discussed with friends and fellow hosts the danger of “putting all eggs in one basket” - being totally reliant on one platform, Airbnb or otherwise, makes one fully vulnerable to the changes and whims of that platform.
In the mean time, people are already re-listing at false addresses outside of the “geofencing” area in order to appear to be in a legal zone.
“We regret to inform you that the City of Miami Beach prohibits most short-term rentals in residential zones RS1, RS2, RS3, RS4, RM1, RM-PRD, RM-PRD-2, RPS-1 and RPS-2, CD-1, RO, R0-3 or TH (see map here). Due to recent regulatory changes made by the City of Miami Beach, we’re unpublishing short-term rental listings in restricted zones on January 4, 2019. After this date, you’ll be unable to accept future reservations for the removed listing, and it will no longer appear in our search results.
If you believe your listing has been identified in error, you can request to reinstate your listing. Reinstatement applies only if your listing is not in a restricted zone or, if it’s in a restricted zone but exempted.
We will continue to fight for fair, thoughtful rules for home sharing. If you’re interested in helping, we encourage you to share your story with your state legislator or you can tell the Mayor and City Commission how limiting short-term rentals is harmful to the city’s economy and to Miami Beach residents like you. Their contact information can be found here.
We hope the City of Miami Beach amends its laws to support responsible hosts like you.”
I can foresee some problems with that as well. I’m sure it will sort itself out over time. The people it hurts most are the ones who have become dependent on the income, in over their head and so on. No doubt there are dozens of young entrepreneurs who have overextended themselves getting into the “easy money” Airbnb business and now will be crying. I recall one guy who posted here who was in NYC. He borrowed and spent thousands fixing up an apartment then professed to be clueless when it came to the illegality of the listing. LOL.
Update: Airbnb has reached a settlement with the City of Miami Beach that can only be understood as having covered their ass by providing a fraction in settlement in comparison of the millions in fines Miami Beach has levied on them since the $20,000 fine for advertising STR’s went into affect. Airbnb never submitted a dime of these fines, so I’m sure somewhere in this settlement they were waived. Airbnb agreed to a $380,000 settlement with the City, and will now require all hosts in Miami Beach display in their listing the City’s BTR (business tax receipt) licensing. The City clearly knowing that 95% of the zoning in our City banns STRs, has on the same day of this Airbnb settlement that they have passed a criminalization statue - whereby submitting a false BTR number on line will be charged with criminal submission of an affidavit, 60 days in jail and or up to $500 fine. The lawsuit specifies that Airbnb is not required to verify the host provided BTR numbers - that was part of Airbnb’s basis for the lawsuit initially. As for now, Airbnb has notified all Miami Beach host’s that listing will be deactivated on 8/7 if no BTR number is provided. The screen to submit a BTR on Airbnb discloses that your submission “may be” provided to the City for verification… The Mayor is gloating and release an immediate press statement claiming victory over illegal STRs, saying they City is protecting the quality of life against bad acting STR operators - meanwhile on the same day they voted for a zoning variance for a hotel developer to double the size of the former allowable height. Exceptions for developers are expected, exceptions for the average Joe wanting to rent out their home are scoffed at. Funny town to be living in, a city based on tourism that won’t let its residents participate in that economy.