Airbnb

Miami Herald

While traveling in Israel this week, Gov. Ron DeSantis has twice said Florida should lift economic sanctions on the home-sharing platform Airbnb after the company reversed course on a move to delist about 200 West Bank properties.

Early this year, the governor said the company’s policy to remove listings in the West Bank, an area that is a major flash point in Israeli-Palestinian relations, was “dumb” and “discriminatory,” and pushed for sanctions. In early April, the company changed its policy.

PBS

The Florida Cabinet is planning to hold its next meeting in Israel next month.

 

Gov. Ron DeSantis said the trip’s main purpose is to promote investment in the state.

Airbnb will allow listings in the occupied West Bank — again.

On Tuesday, the property rental company reversed a previous decision to remove about 200 listings in Israeli settlements in the area.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

One of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ campaign pledges was to make Israel the first foreign country he visits in office. DeSantis came to South Florida on Tuesday to announce he’s keeping that promise – and that he’ll do more than just visit Israel.

Monroe County Code Compliance

If you look for vacation rentals in the Florida Keys, you may notice a lot of boats offered as lodging. Now Monroe County has brought a code compliance case against one of the owners.

Michael Dewitt says he's put $130,000 into fixing up his 40-foot sportfishing boat, docked behind his house on Little Torch Key.

So when a property manager approached him about renting it as a vacation rental on Airbnb, he agreed.

"It sat behind my house empty, I had a couple of neighbors that were doing the exact same thing - that are still doing the exact same thing," he said.

Sam Turken / WLRN

Gov. Ron DeSantis threatened on Tuesday to sanction Airbnb over what he called the home-sharing platform's anti-Semitic move to cease its operations along Israel's West Bank. The company has removed more than 200 listings in Israeli settlements in recent months, due to the dispute the homes have fueled with Palestinians.

Flanked by South Florida Jewish community leaders at the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County in Boca Raton, DeSantis said Airbnb's decision violates a state law that prohibits Florida from working with companies that boycott Israel.

In the year since home-sharing company Airbnb signed tax deals in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, it's paid both counties millions more in taxes than it originally promised.

C.M. Guerrero cguerrero@miamiherald.com

After claims of racial discrimination on its platform, home-sharing site Airbnb is partnering with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to attract more black hosts and guests to its site.

And they're launching the national program in Miami-Dade County.

Airbnb and NAACP will pilot the effort in Miami Gardens and Little Haiti, the partners announced Wednesday. They expect to expand to other cities nationwide in the future.

Aglez the city guy/Flickr

Florida International University (FIU) in Miami has a starring role in a plot twist involving the ongoing saga between the hotel industry and home-sharing companies like Airbnb. 

FIU, a state university that gets some of its funding from Florida taxpayers, had been selected for a grant worth over $68,000 from the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation (AHLEF). The grant would have been used to study the safety and security of short-term rentals like Airbnb.

Since its inception nearly a decade ago, Airbnb has faced questions from people of color as to whether the company's worldwide "vacancy" sign really applied to them.

The company has been plagued by allegations and several lawsuits, predominantly but not exclusively from African-Americans, claiming discrimination.

Lisette Poole / Airbnb

In Miami-Dade County, Airbnb has become a big business and political controversy. But across the Florida Straits in Cuba, there are few complaints about the online lodging service.

In fact, Airbnb is urging the Trump Administration not to roll back normalized relations with Cuba. And it’s stepping into Cuba politics because it’s doing so well in Cuba business. This week Airbnb reports that Cubans have netted $40 million the past two years by using the online service to rent their homes and rooms to short-term visitors.

This week on The Florida Roundup...

By next month, hotel taxes from Airbnb guests will be collected and paid in two South Florida counties. Both the Miami-Dade and Broward County commissions approved separate agreements this week with the home-sharing site over the counties' taxes and hotel rooms. 

C.M. Guerrero / Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Its economy relies to an absurd extent on the low-wage tourism sector. Because it lacks higher-wage, tech-oriented jobs, its average citizens struggle to bridge the chasm between their incomes and their exorbitant living costs.

But so what? It’s a sunny town on a bay with muy caliente Latin flavor. The visitors and their money will keep coming and keep the place afloat. Besides, it’s got more important things to worry about – like a mortal political enemy 90 miles away.

A proposal to halt local regulation of vacation rentals passed in committee Tuesday after a heated debate over private property and community rights.

CHABELI HERRERA / MIAMI HERALD

This week on The Florida Roundup...

Miami-Dade County has inked a deal with Airbnb for the home-sharing company to collect and pay hotel taxes. Yet, the city of Miami and Miami Beach continue to pushback against the service and its hosts.

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