Airbnb is a website where people can list, find and rent lodging all over the world. Currently, there are over 1,500,000 listings in 34,000 cities in 190 countries. And in the United States, Miami ranks fifth, behind New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston. According to a recent article from The Real Deal, using Airbnb you can rent a room in North Beach about five blocks from Collins AVenue for $85 a night. For $149 a night, you can get a one-bedroom apartment with bicycles, parking, a washer/dryer and a full kitchen. And if you’re really looking to splurge, for $300 a night, you can rent a one-bedroom Brickell penthouse, including parking, within walking distance of the Metromover and Mary Brickell Village. This all sounds great, if you’re the one looking for a rental. For Miami hotels, Airbnb poses a serious threat.
In Miami Beach alone, there are 4,562 listings for rental properties, but industry experts aren’t sure if the service is being regulated properly. Miami Beach city code allows for vacation and short-term rentals (less than six months and one day), in certain zoning districts, but they are banned in single-family homes and in a number of zoning districts. Individuals who violate these regulations, and get caught, may have to pay fees ranging from $500 to $7,500 and face eviction of tenants and visitors. Hosts in Surfside are required to register each rental period in their unit, with a limit of three registrations per calendar year. Rentals also incur resort taxes. Last December, Airbnb started collecting and submitting Florida’s 6% bed tax, as well as bed taxes in 27 separate counties, although Miami-Dade is not one of them.
“We continue to have conversations with local officials,” said Christopher Nully, a spokesperson for Airbnb. “Our position is we want to work with as many governments and municipalities as possible to collect and remit bed taxes. Our goal is to make life easier for our hosts and our guests.”
Last April, hotel developer and CEO of Crescent Heights, Russell Galbut, said that the hotel industry is “under attack,” as other hoteliers called for the implementation of local taxes and enforcement of existing regulations.
“Our stance is not about Airbnb. It’s about illegal short-term rentals,” said Peggy Benua, chair of the Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association. “We want to get everyone on a level playing field…We really have to go through hoops to get an occupational license.”
Currently, there are about 54,000 hotel rooms in Miami-Dade County and 4,000 more in the works.