Jacksonville may start regulating short-term vacation rentals like Airbnb

City considering regulating short term vacation rentals

The city of Jacksonville may start regulating short-term vacation rentals such as Airbnb.

The idea is to protect neighbors and guests, but some say the proposal would create too much red tape for hosts.

“I just passed 200 5-star ratings,” said Gina Martinelli, who rents out a room in her Avondale home through Airbnb.

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The extra money allows her to afford to stay in her home.

“I’m on a fixed income, all right? Social Security is only $900 a month. What in heaven’s name do you do with that? Live in your car?” Martinelli said.

Now Jacksonville City Councilman Jim Love has introduced a bill to regulate short-term vacation rentals such as Martinelli’s.

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Hosts would have to register with the city, pay a fee, pass fire-prevention inspection, go through a city landlord-training program and cap the maximum number of guests per bedroom.

“I want it to be right, and safe, and all of that. I don’t have a problem with that. I don’t have a problem at all with giving some of my money to the city,” Martinelli said.

The city of Jacksonville bill would also require a short-term rental property to have at least one off-street parking spot for each bedroom rented out.

On Wednesday, state lawmakers met to talk about two other bills that would regulate short-term rentals statewide -- bills that could pre-empt local regulations.

The Florida Vacation Rental Management Association supports the state bills, but Executive Director Denis Hanks called Jacksonville’s bill “rampant overreach … that strip[s] property rights from law abiding Florida property owners.”

Martinelli said she’ll do whatever it takes to stay in her home.