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Florida Governor Suspends Vacation Rental Operations Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Thomas B. Luzier

In reaction to the national “15 Days to Slow the Spread” COVID-19 guidance, as well as an influx of individuals migrating from other states as a result of shelter at home orders, Florida’s Governor Ron Desantis issued Executive Order #20-87 on March 27 directing “all parties engaged in rental of vacation rental properties…to suspend vacation rental operations.” New reservations and bookings are prohibited, as are “new guests for check-in for the duration of [the] order.”  

The Governor’s order lasts for fourteen (14) days, unless further extended.

A “vacation rental” is “any unit or group of units in a condominium or cooperative or any individually or collectively owned single-family, two-family, three-family, or four-family house or dwelling unit that is also a transient public lodging establishment but that is not a timeshare project.”  

The term “[t]ransient public lodging establishment means any unit, group of units, dwelling, building, or group of buildings within a single complex of buildings which is rented to guests more than three times in a calendar year for periods of less than 30 days or 1 calendar month, whichever is less, or which is advertised or held out to the public as a place regularly rented to guests.”  

Not covered under the Governor’s order are “[h]otels, motels, inns, resorts, non-transient public lodging establishments, or time share projects.” Long-term rentals are also exempt, as are rental stays currently in force, or which were previously booked, for which check-in occurs no later than March 28. 

Rentals for those who are involved in emergency response efforts are also exempt, as are “travelers engaged in non-vacation commercial activities.”

Implementation and policing of the order was delegated to the Florida Division of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), which has investigatory and reporting responsibilities. Violations are considered a second degree misdemeanor, and DBPR is authorized to revoke the license of any party that violates {the] order or otherwise advertises vacation rental opportunities during the duration of [the] order.”

Williams Parker’s COVID-19 response team is continuing to monitor these and other developments, and advise on issues arising from the Coronavirus. View the latest updates.

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