Court temporarily blocks Miami's ban on app-based short-term rentals

5 Miami hosts back Airbnb lawsuit

By Glenna Milberg - Reporter

MIAMI - In an after-hours ruling Wednesday, a Miami-Dade County circuit judge paved the way for Airbnb and similar home-sharing companies to operate in the city of Miami, with a temporary injunction blocking the city's ban.

"I think we are all just confused about what is right, what is legal, what is OK for our community," said Miami resident Marcie Mascaro, considered an Airbnb super host.

The ruling is in response to a lawsuit filed last week by five Miami hosts and Airbnb alleging that the city of Miami was ignoring Florida law by reinterpreting local zoning codes as a ban on short-term rentals.

The city said its ban on vacation rentals in residential areas is a response to residents who fear home renters will ruin the quality of life.

The lawsuit also takes issue with the city's action against the hosts who came forward publicly to defend their businesses at a recent city commission meeting.

"They were putting themselves in harms way by officially, publicly, on the record saying that they are violating the code of the city of Miami," Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado said in an April 11 interview with Local 10 News.

The lawsuit quotes a Local 10 News report to support its allegations.

With the temporary injunction in place, the plaintiffs are also asking the court to clarify Miami rules on home-sharing.

In an emailed statement, An Airbnb spokesman wrote, "...We are hopeful that it will result in relief and fair treatment for the 3,000 Miamians who responsibly share their homes on Airbnb."

Mascaro, who is not one of the five plaintiff hosts, said she has dealt with Miami's zoning process, and to comply with what she understands is law, limits her rentals to 30 days and longer. 

She calls the temporary injunction a first step.

"How can we take the laws that we have and create new ones that better benefit hosts and the community?" she asked.

City officials have not responded publicly to the temporary injunction ruling.

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