Miami Beach takes aim at Airbnb's policies for Israel's West Bank

Resort city, home-sharing company often at odds

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Miami Beach city commissioners called out Airbnb Wednesday, drafting a resolution against what it calls discriminatory practices by the company.

The resolution was a response to the short term rental company's decision to unlist properties in Israel's West Bank.

Florida's new governor, Ron DeSantis, is even threatening sanctions.

"We addressed something that needed to be addressed," said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber.

The city, though, has long been in a fight of its own, trying to get Airbnb to comply with strict rules.

Home sharing sites are now required to post resort tax registration numbers and business licenses for every individual listing -- proof that homeowners legally registered with the city.

The only out? Companies could use geo-fencing technology that would automatically block users from listing homes in areas banned by the city.

But Airbnb is now suing Miami Beach, essentially saying the city can't police its website.

"We know it's not a difficult thing to police because other home sharing platforms are doing it already. This is a pretty sophisticated company," Gelber said.

Only a small stretch of Miami Beach allows so-called short-term rentals after neighbors have complained of unruly tenants and wild parties. Violators in restricted areas could face fines of up to $5,000.

"I don't know what the big problem is because all we're asking them to do is be a good corporate citizen and abide by our laws," Gelber said.

About the Author:

Terrell Forney joined Local 10 News in October 2005 as a general assignment reporter. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but a desire to escape the harsh winters of the north brought him to South Florida.