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Airbnb wins stay against Miami anti-vacation rental home rules

in Apolitical/Top Headlines by

Vacation rental home marketing giant Airbnb and five of its Miami hosts have won a preliminary victory in Miami that temporarily blocks that city’s ban on such operations in residential neighborhoods.

In a suit that Airbnb and five vacation rental homeowners filed last week, Circuit Judge Beatrice Butchko issued a temporary restraining order late Wednesday enjoining the city from enforcing its ban on short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods.

Miami’s city commission had approved a resolution in March that essentially interpreted existing city codes to forbid vacation rental homes in residential zones.

In its lawsuit, Airbnb argued that the regulations do not say that and that the city was trying to use the interpretation to get around a 2011 state law forbidding cities from taking local actions to ban the operations. That law grandfathered in old city ordinances.

The judge’s ruling also included a broader order that speaks to what happened at the March 23 Miami City Commission meeting, and how the city allegedly responded in the ensuing weeks.

The suit by Airbnb and its hosts alleged that Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado and the city retaliated against Airbnb hosts who spoke out at that meeting, by targeting them for enforcement of the city’s ban on vacation rental homes in the days after the meeting. Those hosts had, under rules held by Miami’s City Commission and virtually all city and county governing boards throughout the state, been required to give their names and addresses to speak.

Airbnb alleged those names and addresses went on a city retaliation list.

So Butchko also enjoined the city requiring constituents to provide their names and addresses when speaking at future city commission hearings.

Airbnb issued the following statement commenting on Butchko’s order:

“On behalf of our Miami host community, we are grateful to the Court for giving this important matter immediate attention. We are hopeful that it will result in relief and fair treatment for the 3,000 Miamians who responsibly share their homes on Airbnb.”

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at

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