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Hot political potato: Airbnb

Regulation of short-term rentals, as exemplified by Airbnb, are stirring a big debate about property owner rights and political influence.

Bills in the Florida House and Senate would curb local governments from regulating short-term vacation rentals—those rented more than three times a year for less than 30 days.

One of the latest salvos in the fight was a press release Monday by AirbnbWATCH Florida, which describes itself as a neighborhood watch group of concerned individuals and organizations.

The group says the Senate legislation “would block even the most reasonable efforts to rein in this often illegal hotel-like activity, putting Florida’s homeowners at risk.”

The group wants a Senate committee to consider the property rights of those who want quiet neighborhoods.

There have been allegations in cities, including Miami Beach, that some Airbnb users have loud disruptive parties in residential neighborhoods.

The flip side to the property rights debate, though, would be whether regulations would impinge on property owners who want to utilize Airbnb to make money. Then there’s a question of who is fighting Airbnb because they are losing from a business standpoint.

Airbnbwatch says it is a project of American Family Voices, but its supporters include the American Hotel and Lodging Association and Unitehere! Local 11, whose California union members work in hotels and restaurants.

In a March 21 Miami Herald article, Airbnb raised questions about whether Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado was influenced by campaign contributions from the hotel industry. Regalado says he is just acting on behalf of residents.

A poll by Sunshine State News Service found 52 percent of Floridians think Airbnb is good for the state while 13 percent says it’s bad. So, who should do the regulating? The poll found 73 percent believe the state should play that role rather than local governments.

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky

Editor-in-Chief

BIOGRAPHY

Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.