January 23, 2023

Contact: [email protected]

Tallahassee, FL – The Alliance for Stronger Communities (ASC) underscores the urgent need for legislative solutions to address unregulated short-term rentals in Florida following a recent report by Florida TaxWatch. The report highlights the impact of unregulated short-term rentals throughout Florida, particularly as it relates to state revenue lost due to unlicensed properties not adhering to state tax laws.

Florida TaxWatch – an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit taxpayer research institute and government watchdog working to improve the productivity and accountability of Florida government – estimated that millions of dollars in state revenue are being lost due to unlicensed short-term rentals on platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo. When examining rental listings for November 2023, they found an estimated minimum of 49,280 unlicensed vacation rentals in the state – which is 28 percent of all available listings for that month. In the report, Florida TaxWatch stated that “in the absence of transparency and accountability, unlicensed vacation rentals may avoid taxes or fail to adhere to safety standards in place to protect renters and neighbors.” 

When examining a single day of unlicensed vacation rental activity in November of 2023, Florida TaxWatch estimated a whopping $1.8 million to $6.9 million in lost registration costs and a yearly loss between $1.2 million and $5.5 million in licensing fees. In addition, they estimated a loss of up to $32,000 in local transient option taxes in a single day and up to $21.3 million in tax dollars due to fraudulent homestead exemption claims.

ASC is dedicated to ensuring these unregulated properties are addressed to safeguard the integrity of Florida communities, prevent further proliferation of unlicensed properties, and advocate for proper tax collection and remittance to ensure Florida localities receive the funds due to them. A bill introduced by Senator Nick DiCeglie, SB 280, includes several provisions that would improve oversight and accountability of short-term rentals to mitigate these issues. Namely, it would give each property a unique identifier and require rental platforms to register through a statewide vacation rental information system (VRIS). Additionally, Senator DiCeglie recently introduced language for SB 280 that would allow local governments greater flexibility regarding annual licensing fees and increase fines for bad actors on short-term rental platforms.

“Florida TaxWatch’s report affirms what we already know to be true about weak regulation of short-term rentals – that bad actors will inevitably fall through the cracks and Florida neighborhoods will continue to suffer the consequences,” said ASC President Franklin Coley. “With this in mind, we’re encouraged to see SB 280 being considered in the Florida Legislature – a step in the right direction to create the kind of oversight and accountability needed to crack down on unlicensed rental properties. Florida lawmakers must build on this momentum and ensure appropriate frameworks are in place to regulate legal vacation rentals, deal with unlawful operators and give localities the oversight tools they need to protect Florida neighborhoods.”

About Alliance for Stronger Communities

Alliance for Stronger Communities is a coalition of neighbors – including child safety advocates, former law enforcement officials, parenting voices and bloggers, civic leaders, housing experts, homeowner association presidents and academics – coming together to form a collective voice to address issues impacting neighborhoods across the country.


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