Coronavirus Update: Vacation Rentals in Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade Counties
Gov. Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-87 on March 27, 2020, suspending statewide operations of vacation rental properties, with limited exceptions (mainly to “Essential Lodgers”). In mid-May, Gov. DeSantis issued EO 20-123, which allows counties to submit written requests to resume operations of vacation rentals along with intended safety plans to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR).
To date, 50 counties have been approved to operate vacation rentals (http://www.myfloridalicense.com/DBPR/vacation-rental-status/). Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade Counties are among the 17 counties that have not yet received approval to resume operation of vacation rentals. As Counties implement plans to reopen businesses, parks and other recreational areas, owners of vacation rental properties must stay up-to-date with these orders and regulations. Accordingly, we will be providing updates as to the moratorium on vacation rentals in the tri-county area.
Broward County Broward County Administrator, Bertha Henry, signed Emergency Order 20-12 on May 21, 2020. The Order states in relevant part: “The following businesses/ establishments remain closed: . . . vacation rentals” (Section 2. C). Section 2. C. was amended by Emergency Order 20-13 to reflect, “except as authorized by the Governor’s Executive Order 20-87” in order to include the limited exceptions. Broward County Administrator’s Office has not yet been submitted a written request and plan (at least as of May 27th).
Palm Beach County On March 29, 2020, Palm Beach County Administrator executed 2020-002a prohibiting vacation rentals from operating within the County with the exceptions outlined in the Governor’s Order 20-87. As the County implements Phase One of the State’s plan to safely reopen businesses, public parks, and beaches, hotels have been allowed to reopen but the County Administrator’s subsequent Orders have been silent as to vacation rentals.
Miami-Dade County Miami-Dade EO 09-20 issued March 21st, allows short-term vacation rentals to remain open to Essential Lodgers: healthcare professionals, first responders, members of the national guard, police officers, government employees, airline crew members, patients and their families, journalists, displaced persons, victims of domestic violence, and others temporarily unable to reside in their homes. EO 09-20 was Amended to clarify that hotels, motels, short-term vacation rentals, and other commercial lodging establishments: EO 23-20, allowed for the opening of some establishments, but not vacation rentals and other commercial lodging except as allowed by EO 09-20, but this was subsequently amended on May 27th to strike through the language that prohibited the operation of hotels, motels, short-term vacation rentals and other commercial lodgings. However, Miami-Dade has not yet been approved by the Florida DBPR to resume operations in accordance with a written request and safety plan.
Orders by Municipalities Each City may have its own orders relating to the operation of vacation rentals even when the County’s receive approval from DBPR and a safety plan is implements. The City of Miami’s coronavirus updates have not addressed the issue of vacation rentals or other commercial lodging since March 21st, when it first declared that they could not operate within the City and Fort Lauderdale has not directly addressed the issue other than by implementing the State and County Orders. Nevertheless, it is advisable to establish that the city in which your vacation rental property is located does not issue additional prohibitions.
Penalties for Violating Orders Be mindful of the Orders affecting your County and City, do not make reservations or accept guests, and do not advertise properties as available until you are certain that Orders have been lifted. Violation of the Governor’s Order will result in suspension of the vacation rental license by the DBPR, owners may be charged with a second-degree felony and additional charges by the State. Municipalities may also impose fines for violations. Recall that the City of Miami Beach issued $168,000 of fines to owners violating the vacation rental ordinances during the Super Bowl with one repeat violator being fined $100,000 (https://www.miamiherald.com/sports/nfl/super-bowl/article239720063.html).