Short-term home rentals and safe neighborhoods can coexist

April 28, 2017 | By MARK MILLER
Christina Sandefur

Goldwater Institute’s Executive Vice-President Christina Sandefur

This week in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Goldwater Institute‘s Executive Vice-President Christina Sandefur and I encourage Florida cities to stop punishing responsible home owners who share their homes with tourists on a short-term basis. Floridians have rented homes out to vacationers and ‘snowbirds’ for decades, but in the last few years city officials have begun making that illegal because a few bad apples shared their homes with individuals who made a nuisance of themselves.

We don’t make it illegal to drive because a few people drive recklessly; similarly, we should not make it illegal to rent a home out because a few home owners rent their homes out to people who don’t obey the law, either. As we explain in the piece:

Cities and towns will still be able to restrict nuisances, noise, and crime. Existing ordinances already do that by targeting specific wrongful behavior. For instance, cities do not forbid all backyard barbeques just because some might get noisy—they enforce reasonable restrictions on noise, while respecting people’s rights to use their property.

We continue by pointing out there is no upside to local laws that preclude short-term rentals:

Local one-size-fits-all prohibitions on home-sharing, on the other hand, are intrusive, encourage neighbors to spy on each other, and distract cities from addressing nuisance and the police from fighting actual crime. That local autonomy is beneficial is not an excuse for enabling the government to intrude on important rights like property and privacy.

Government busy-bodies never fail to find new, unconstitutional ways to intrude on private property rights. Thankfully, organizations like Pacific Legal Foundation and Goldwater Institute exist to beat those efforts back in favor of the vision that our Founding Fathers enshrined in the Constitution.