MIAMI (AP) — Airbnb and other home-sharing platforms face more restrictions in Miami, where the mayor plans for more aggressive enforcement of regulations prohibiting rentals of single-family homes in its residential areas.
Amid spring break and days before the annual Ultra electronic music festival opens, Mayor Tomas Regalado pledged to crack down on short-term rentals that generate complaints about parties and other noisy disruptions.
Though popular with travelers and homeowners looking to earn extra money, Airbnb faces significant backlash from officials and hoteliers in major tourist destinations worldwide, including Miami Beach, which imposes up to $20,000 fines for illegal short-term rentals.
Airbnb spokesman Ben Breit said in an email that the company wants to work with Miami and Miami Beach on regulations that protect all homeowners, but the cities "seem more interested in protecting the massive Miami hotel lobby than empowering their own constituents." Miami Beach would be excluded from a pending tax agreement between Airbnb and Miami-Dade County.
Regalado will present his city commission with an ordinance Thursday reaffirming zoning regulations prohibiting commercial activities in Miami's vast residential neighborhoods.
"The zoning code of the city of Miami is very clear — any commercial intrusion in the residential, single-family homes is illegal and code compliance will go after those residents," Regalado said.
If the ordinance is approved, Regalado said he would approach homeowners in downtown condo buildings about creating similar restrictions.
Joining Regalado at a news conference Monday outside Miami City Hall, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine said he'd like to see even higher fines for homeowners who illegally rent out their homes or apartments. Those fines are the highest the company faces worldwide, Breit said.
Representatives from a handful of homeowners associations in Miami and Miami Beach complained that visitors using Airbnb don't value their communities and create security concerns and nuisances for full-time residents. More than a dozen Airbnb hosts also gathered outside city hall said their investments to upgrade their properties for rentals helps promote additional spending in the local economy.
Most of Airbnb's 6,800 hosts in Miami-Dade County are in Miami or Miami Beach, and they hosted over 500,000 guests last year, Breit said.
This story corrects in 4th paragraph that only Miami Beach would be excluded from pending tax deal with county.