Miami Beach Imposes the Highest Home-Sharing Fines in the Nation

Home-sharing is as Floridian as orange juice—it’s a longstanding tradition in the Sunshine State. Tourism drives Florida’s economy and breeds new business opportunities for local residents. And in many Florida cities, “vacation rentals” are the properties that pay a substantial portion of the local taxes, which fill city coffers to pay for schools, emergency, and community services, and infrastructure improvements. Twenty-one percent of Florida homeowners use rental income to pay for their child’s education, 70 percent of owners use income for renovations or upgrades, and 11 percent save for retirement. According to a recent poll from Mason-Dixon, 93 percent of Floridians support home-sharing.

Unfortunately, the city of Miami Beach has been cracking down homeowners’ property rights by imposing steep penalties for home-sharing—the very practice that makes a vacation in sunny South Florida possible for travelers from around the world. Miami Beach is home to some of the most extreme anti-home-sharing rules in the country. The city imposes fines of up to $100,000 per violation on home-sharers who rent outside of a narrow zone where rentals are allowed.

The Florida Constitution protects people from excessive fines that are “grossly disproportional” to the person’s action. For many of these homeowners who have rented responsibly for years, these fines make up a large percentage of their home’s actual worth. If $100,000 is not “excessive,” it’s hard to say what is. Florida state law also caps the fines that cities like Miami Beach can levy at $1,000 for first offenders. Miami Beach’s new home-sharing fines—which start at $20,000 (and can’t be reduced by a city official)—far exceed that. Miami Beach imposes fines that are illegal under the state cap, in addition to being unconstitutional.