After weeks of lost revenue and refunded bookings, the private vacation rental industry in Florida is under attack by the very government it so aggressively funds. The beaches are open. Hotels, “resorts” and even timeshares are filling up, but Governor Rick DeSantis has decided to leave the statewide ban in place for short term vacation rentals. This action will surely be the final financial blow for many vacation rental owners and managers in Florida. In some cases, vacation rental condos and timeshare condos exist in the same building. The corporate owned timeshare can host guests, but the private owner short term vacation rental cannot. It doesn’t work that way in America.
It certainly doesn’t work that way for two Destin, Florida vacation rental owners. Karen Lugo and Joe Godar have retained the services of an attorney with a proven track record of addressing government overreach in Florida. Karen Lugo has a vacation home in Destin but lives in Austin, TX and is a constitutional law attorney licensed in California. Joe Godar owns vacation rentals in Destin and is managing partner of the regional vacation rental website EmeraldCoastByOwner.com (ECBYO). Together, they have spearheaded an effort to fund an emergency lawsuit asking courts to reinstate the right to rent vacation homes and condos in Florida. When asked why he decided to get involved, Joe Godar stated flatly, “I’m just tired of this…”
Governor DeSantis declared only Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Monroe counties remain high-risk areas for COVID-19 infections, yet he closed vacation rentals indefinitely for the entire state. There is no proof that short term vacation rentals present more risk than do hotels and other lodgings. The governor's ban infringes upon homeowner fundamental rights to due process and rights to contract.
Attorney Patrick Deluc is on schedule to file the emergency stay on the Florida short term rental ban in federal court later this week. A stay, if granted, will allow Florida vacation rental owners to rent homes and condos again until there is a full hearing on the legal arguments.
For updates on the progress of the emergency stay after it is filed, please revisit this blog in the future.