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Southern Strategy Group lands short-term rentals giant Airbnb

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Though ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft are getting most of the ink these days, you’d be a fool to sleep on the short-term rental aspect of the new so-called sharing economy, where companies like industry leader Airbnb are challenging zoning rules, raising the ire of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association and raising questions about fundamental property rights.

Such a complex issue will require a big lift on the influence side, and Airbnb is hiring up top-shelf lobbying talent to meet the challenge.

To help shepherd them through the process in the Florida Capitol, they’ve enlisted Southern Strategy Group, Airbnb public affairs director Christipher Nulty confirmed on Wednesday.

“We’re working with leaders across the globe on clear, fair laws that make it easy for people to share their homes while contributing to their communities,” Nulty said in a statement. “We’re looking forward to continuing our productive conversations with lawmakers in Florida.”

State Sen. Jeff Brandes told Florida Politics before session that he planned to introduce a bill allowing short-term rentals statewide as soon as Uber legislation clears, probably this year, though nothing is certain in today’s budget-preoccupied Tallahassee climate.

Airbnb is included in state Sen. David Simmons‘ sharing-economy insurance bill — SB 1298 –– which would require short-term rental companies to carry personal injury and property damage insurance for up to $1 million, something the company says it voluntarily includes among its policies.

Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to FloridaPolitics.com and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at ryan@floridapolitics.com.

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