In the dense tourist neighborhoods of South Beach, Miami, lie a variety of different hotels, however, some tourists opt to - intentionally or unintentionally - illegally rent out Airbnb or other properties available through home-sharing platforms like Vacayo, Booking.com or Expedia’s HomeAway. It’s a common activity that occurs in the residential areas of Miami Beach, where properties are not allowed to be rented out for less than six months and a day.
Unfortunately, uninformed renters are given the boot by the city and asked to leave the next day or relocate as soon as possible. Residents cite quality-of-life complaints like: noise, parties, and disregard of safety standards, zoning rules, and taxes, in regards to illegal home-sharing activity, according to dozens of public records and interviews. Miami Beach has had a law against illegal short term rentals for years, but the $1,500 fine was insufficient to deter non-complying residents, so the city increased the first violation fine in 2016 to $20,000, all the way up to $100,000 for the fifth.
"The easiest way to stop all of this is if the home-sharing platforms simply didn't send people into these neighborhoods," says Dan Gelber, mayor of Miami Beach. "It's just that simple. They're the ones who do it and they claim they have no responsibility because, 'oh, we're just an internet platform.' But they're not." Home-sharing companies like Airbnb have had a bad track record of complying with local laws and generally shrug off responsibility, despite being able to limit how long guests are able to rent out properties.
According to CNBC.com, Miami Beach “will investigate more than 1,000 complaints of illegal rentals this year, up from more than 800 in 2017.” But Airbnb blames the city for not wanting to cooperate, ignoring the fact that the zoning map can easily be found in public record, which outlines where short-term rentals are allowed. Both property owners and companies get cited and fined for violating Miami’s Code of Ordinances, Section 33-28.