Orlando commissioners will vote Monday on short-term rentals

The Orlando City Council will decide Monday whether to allow short-term rentals in all residential neighborhoods with certain conditions.

Short-term rentals, usually booked through online platforms like Airbnb and VRBO, are defined as the rental of a residential property for periods of less than 30 days. Most short-term rentals are not allowed within city limits.

City commissioners will be voting on a measure that allows residential homeowners to rent out space for a short period of time, as long as the owner is onsite to "host the guests." Homeowners will only be allowed to have one booking at a time. They can't rent out the entire unit, but homeowners can accommodate visitors in a room, garage apartment or mother-in-law suite. The proposal also calls for these homeowners to pay to register with the city.

The ordinance will become effective on July 1 to give city staff time to create the online registration platform and prepare a public education campaign on the new regulations.

Currently, a bill proposed in the Florida Legislature would bar local governments from regulating vacation rentals. State Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, proposed SB 1400, which would give that regulatory power to the state and charge annual license fees.

Airbnb Florida also announced Monday that it collected and remitted over $45.7 million in tax revenue from its hosts to state and local governments in 2017. That's a significant jump from $20 million in 2016.

Under an agreement to collect bed taxes in Orange County, Airbnb says it remitted $1.75 million in revenue back to the county in 2017. The online platform argues it is complementing – not competing with – Florida's hotel industry because the state's hotels are still experiencing growth in occupancy rates.

"Vacation rentals on Airbnb and other platforms are opening up the state to a new demographic of tourists by catering to travelers who are less able to afford hotels, those who desire to stay in neighborhoods or cities that lack hotels, and families who prefer to vacation together under one roof," the company says in a statement.

The Orlando City Council passed the new rules legalizing home sharing in Orlando's residential neighborhoods, by a vote of 6-1.


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