^
Keep New Times Free
4
| News |

Miami Beach Has Collected Only 2 Percent of $5 Million in Short-Term-Rental Fines

Update: One of the property owners billed by the city tells New Times his tenants are the ones listing his home on Airbnb.

Miami Beach hasn't been shy about levying some of the nation's highest fines against short-term-rental hosts. In the past year, the city has doled out more than $5 million in fines to home-sharing sites such as Airbnb and local residents who use them to rent out their homes.

But actually collecting the money, it turns out, isn't so easy. By the end of this month, Miami Beach had reeled in only $111,000, city records show. That's about 2 percent of all of those fines.

The city's fines — $20,000 for each illegal short-term-rental listing — have plunged Miami Beach and Airbnb into an all-out battle, complete with a Facebook rant from Mayor Philip Levine, dueling advertisements, and mudslinging on both sides.

Airbnb last week ran a TV ad telling viewers to contact Levine and ask him why he's against middle-class families. The mayor fired back with personally funded ads carried by boat and plane that accused the home-sharing company of cozying up to lawmakers in Tallahassee.

Zoning regulations make short-term rentals illegal almost anywhere in Miami Beach, except along parts of Harding and Collins Avenues. City officials argue that additional rentals hurt the quality of life in the city's neighborhoods, while home-sharing companies and their proponents say they support the local economy and help local residents make ends meet.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

Since March 2016, Miami Beach has handed out 184 fines, including $320,000 to Airbnb. Some individual hosts have racked up hundreds of thousands in fees: Records show someone named Temitope Odalapo has been billed $420,000, and another homeowner, Andrew Grewal, has been fined $400,000.

The city has collected nine payments so far, including $20,000 from Airbnb and $5,000 from HomeAway, another home-sharing business. Euroamerican Group Inc. has paid the most: $40,000 for a listing on Venetian Way.

Officials plan to spend the first $200,000 collected on homeless services. After that, they say, they'll put 80 percent of the money collected toward affordable housing and 20 percent toward helping the homeless.

Update, 4:30 p.m.: Andrew Grewal tells New Times it's his tenants who listed his property on Airbnb. He says he's working with them and the city to resolve the fines.

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.