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Short Term Renting in Sunny Isles


August 17, 2018 – In the ongoing debate about short-term renting in our beach towns and adjacent Miami vacation destinations, Sunny Isles Beach is facing yet another roadblock. Those looking to exercise their rights as property owners to allow renters for terms less than 6-months will now need to obtain a license to do so.

This requirement is not just a business license issued to the property, but the property owner or “responsible party” is also required to get their own professional license in place. Property owners will now need to be qualified by the State of Florida, just as a contractor, real estate agent, cosmetologist or other licensed professional is also required to be. These licenses, referred to as a “Transient Public Lodging Establishment License,” are issued by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) ($170 and up). Additionally, owners in Sunny Isles must obtain and pay fees to the city for a Local Business Tax Receipt ($110), and an additional city-based Vacation Rental License ($100), with both needing to be renewed yearly.

With exception of being forced to keep a list of all residents, the rules set forth are somewhat reasonable:

  • Be available by landline or mobile telephone to address problems with the rental of the property on a 24 hour a day basis, seven (7) days a week.
  • Be situated close enough to the property to be able to respond in person within one (1) hour of being notified by a rental occupant, law enforcement officer, emergency personnel, or the City of issues related to the rental.
  • Keep a list of all guests, which shall be made available for inspection by authorized personnel of the City at all times upon request.
  • Maintain the entire property free of garbage and litter provided, however, that this section shall not prohibit the storage of garbage and litter in authorized receptacles for collection.
  • Conduct an on-site inspection of the rental at the end of each rental period to ensure continued compliance with the requirements of the Short-Term Vacation Rental Ordinance.


Penalties for not adhering to the guidelines are $1,000 for the first offense, $2,500 for the second and an additional $2,500 for the third coupled with a 1-year license suspension. While we still feel the city is unnecessarily requiring owners to jump through hoops in order to make fair and best use of their own properties, this is still better than the City of Miami Beach’s outright banning of short-term-rentals, and the outlandish fines of $20,000 for the first offense in doing so.

Under the new rules, short-term rental listings would be required to display a city-issued business tax receipt number and the resort tax certificate number. Platforms like Airbnb or HomeAway wouldn’t be allowed to list properties without that information. A first-time violation would cost a platform $1,000. Subsequent violations would net fines of up to $5,000, though that amount could go up.

Whether residents proclaim that they want short-term renting in their towns or not is not necessarily applicable, given that the State of Florida has laws on the books that prohibit cities from banning them. That said, community support for short-term-rentals is largely based on who you ask. Different polls have found varying levels of support for short-term renting in South Florida. One concluded that 94 percent of southeast Floridians want Airbnb and other companies to be legal in their hometowns while a poll conducted by a lobbyist from the Hotel Association found that 49% percent of Miami-Dade voters are against allowing their neighbors to rent their properties short-term.

Personal opinions aside, the issue of vacation rentals is a legal one that ultimately the courts will decide. As the battle continues to make it’s way through the courts, organizations like public advocacy group The Goldwater Institute, in which Ross Milroy has been heavily involved with, will continuing their fights to ensure all owners retain their legal rights as property owners as dictated by the state constitution.



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