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Letter to Governor DeSantis: Ban on Vacation Rentals – Tampa Bay Area of Florida

April 30th, 2020

Dear Governor DeSantis and Attorney General Moody:

The current ban on vacation rentals should not be extended for numerous reasons as laid out below:

  1. Hotels: Restrictions are not currently placed on Hotels
    1. Unlike Hotels, vacation rentals include all the amenities of a home to include isolated areas, kitchens, isolated air flow, and supplies needed for a stay. This limits the reasons to leave the vacation rental.
    2. Hotels do not include any of the amenities listed in the point above. Guests traveling to stay in a hotel will be required to visit restaurants and grocery stores at a much higher frequency than a vacation rental.  This would expose hotel guests to potential health threats at a frequency much higher than a guest of a vacation rental.
    3. Opening Hotels before vacation rentals with no restriction on occupancy will quickly push hotels to 100% occupancy due to the demand of customers and supply of rooms.  Hotels are much more likely to become a petri dish experiment gone wrong.  Opening Vacation rentals will reduce this risk greatly by spreading people and keeping them isolated from each other.
    4. Hotels require a face to face check in process.  The majority of vacation rentals allow a check in process that does not require face to face interaction.
    5. Guests feel safer in a vacation rental compared to a hotel.
  2. Feeder Markets:
    1. The top 6 feeder states for vacation rentals in the Tampa Bay Area are Ohio, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Tennessee, and Kentucky.  These states comprise 70% of our bookings over the next 90 days.  No “Hot Spot” areas are feeder states for our Tampa Bay vacation rentals.  $0.00 from Detroit, New York, New Jersey, or New Orleans.
    2. These feeder markets are shared with the Alabama Gulf Coast.  Guests that are booking during the vacation rental ban are not staying home… they are choosing to spend those dollars in markets that are open.
  3. Effect of the ban on supporting small businesses:
    1. A ban on vacation rentals is a ban on many more “approved and necessary” businesses.  The downstream effects of this ban harms many other local industries to include but not limited to vacation rental managers, restaurants, groceries, gas stations, convenience stores, fast food restaurants, charter boat fisherman, auto repair shops, cleaning and sanitation businesses, repair and maintenance businesses, laundry services, soap and shampoo supply, linen supply, and many other supporting industries.
    2. Most of these small businesses did not qualify in round 1 or round 2 of the PPP and are not eligible for the EIDL assistance.
    3. Many of these businesses are minority owned businesses.
    4. The ban on vacation rentals is a crush to the low and middle class that supports vacation rental industry.
  4. Lack of financial support and options for vacation rental property owners:
    1. Unlike hotels, vacation rental property owners were not included in government bailout packages, PPP loans and grants, or EIDL funding.
    2. The insurance companies these property owners pay annual premiums to are not paying out for “loss of income.”
    3. These property owners are truly left out of any financial assistance the State of Florida or the Federal Government is making available.
    4. In addition to the points, Governor DeSantis is making the decisions to exclude these property owners from the ability to generate revenue.

In conclusion, the Governors sentiment yesterday was one of hope for all Floridians and taxpayers in the State of Florida.  It came as a surprise to all of us that an extension to the vacation rental ban was put in place.  For many reasons this ban does not make any sense, these reasons are as follows:

  • Vacation rentals will already be at an occupancy much lower than normal.
  • Vacation rentals are a safer option when compared to hotels.
  • People traveling to stay at vacation rentals are coming from states and areas not deemed “hot spots.”
  • The vacation rental ban effects many supporting industries that are not currently receiving the financial support they need from the State and Federal Government.
  • The vacation rental ban effects property owners that were “left out” of any financial aid delivered from the State or Federal Government.

Please consider this plea to in your decision to lift a ban on vacation rentals effective May 4, 2020.

Sincerely,

Those effected by the ban on vacation rentals

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