August 25, 2016
In Miami Beach, it’s no secret that the hotel industry is the city’s biggest economic engine. City Hall certainly knows who pays the bills. Back in March, the city voted to start fining AirBnB-type short term renters a whopping $20,000 a pop. Hoteliers say the new fines protect the tourism industry from unregulated renters who can offer cheaper rooms without paying employees or taxes. But short-term renters — including one who spoke anonymously to New Times, out of fear that the city government would fine him — argue that the law just protects deep-pocketed luxury hotels from competition. One thing that is not in dispute: The city has not been shy about handing out the new fines, which can go to anyone renting a space for less than six months and one day. According to a memo City Manager Jimmy Morales sent to the city commission last week, Miami Beach has levied $1.59 million in fines against short-term landlords since the new fines have been in place….