Miami Beach is on the ropes again in the city’s seemingly never-ending battle with Airbnb.
On Monday, a Miami-Dade circuit judge struck down the city’s law that fines homeowners $20,000 per violation for illegally renting their places short term on sites such as Airbnb. The city said Tuesday that it will appeal.
Miami Beach first instituted its fine structure — $20,000 for the first violation, $40,000 for the second, $60,000 for the third, $80,000 for the fourth, with a max of $100,000 for each offense after that — in March 2016. They are the most expensive fines in the country for illegal short-term rentals.
Mayor Dan Gelber said the fines are justified based on how lucrative the short-term rental market is for homeowners. Lower fines the city had used did not deter illegal short-term renting, he said.
“Our fines are high but on the other hand, the amount they’re getting is commensurate with that,” he said.
Miami Beach prohibits rentals of six months or less in most residential areas, but allows them in a few sections of the city. Hosts are required to obtain a business license and resort-tax registration certificate.
Florida law prohibits local governments from fining residents more than $1,000 a day for code violations.
In his ruling, Judge Michael Hanzman said that the city’s fines are in “jarring conflict with (state law) and are therefore illegal and unenforceable.”