AirBnb

Lawsuit Says Miami's Airbnb Ban Violates Fundamental Rights

The city says it will target homeowners who opposed the new rules, but some of those homeowners are fighting back.

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Controversial new rules that effectively ban homesharing services in Miami are being challenged in court by Airbnb and five city residents who say their fundamental rights have been violated.

The lawsuit, filed Friday, is a response to Miami's crackdown on Airbnb and the city's decision to target enforcement actions against residents who spoke out against the new rules at a public hearing last month. Those new rules have caused the plaintiffs and Airbnb to lose potential rental income and risk fines, according to the lawsuit.

"The city has recently undertaken an aggressive anti-Airbnb campaign that includes threats against individual Airbnb hosts who attended a city commission meeting to publicly voice their support for vacation rentals in Miami," part of the lawsuit states. The five plaintiffs say they want courts to block the city from enforcing the new anti-Airbnb ordinance.

The city did not respond to Reason's request for comment Monday morning.

As Reason previously reported, both Miami Mayor Thomas Regalado and Daniel Alfonso, Miami city manager, indicated last month that they would target enforcement actions against residents who attended a public hearing on the Airbnb ban. Alfonso told the Miami Herald that the city was "on notice" for individuals who would "challenge us in public."

The notion that city officials would single-out people who spoke up against a public policy simply because they spoke up in public is quite disturbing. Instead of focusing on nuisance tenants or short-term rentals that are drawing complaints from neighbors (if there are any), they are choosing specifically to target members of the community who are engaged in the political process and are trying to make their voices heard.

The lawsuit filed Friday says those threats "seek to deprive members of our community of their fundamental rights — property rights, free speech, the right to petition without fear of retribution."

Targeting law abiding citizens aside, the outright ban on Airbnb does not make much sense. Cities should enforce existing nuisance laws against renters (or homeowners) who are creating problems for neighbors. Preventing law-abiding residents from renting extra space in their homes—and then targeting residents who exercise their right to voice opposition to city policies—is not protecting anyone and is arguably pulling enforcement officers away from other, more important duties.

City officials might not like Airbnb, but most Floridians do. A February survey by pollsters Mason & Dixon found that 93 percent of Florida residents said Airbnb should be legal, and 65 percent of Floridians polled by Mason & Dixon said local governments shouldn't regulate homesharing apps at all.

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  1. Apparently the government doesn’t like it when you sublet their property. (Assuming that the government owns all land in the United States since you pay ‘rent’ in taxes each year.)

    /snark

    1. Politicians get a lot of money from crony capitalists in the hotel industry to use government to keep competitors out of the hotel industry. There needs to be a visible return on their investment. Hence, the government going after Air BnB.

  2. Rights are being violated?

    [Democrats] may be civil libertarians and to some degree social libertarians, but they’re not economic libertarians. And for good reason: Economic libertarianism has never been more preposterous.

    When are you people going to understand that economic freedom is crazy!

    1. We live in the real world. Raging against that isn’t an answer either.

    2. Wow. I think my IQ dropped twenty points while reading that.

      Though the guy does have a point. Corporations do indeed enslave us with their goods, services, and jobs. We are forced to buy things and work if we want to live. And government is indeed the answer, because government can provide free shit for everyone at the expense of everyone else. After all, profits are theft because we must buy stuff from corporations and work for corporations, which means profits are obtained by force. Whereas taxes are not force because government is us and we are government, so taxes are just us taking money from ourselves and giving it to ourselves, except when we rob from the rich out of fairness. Then they are force. Good force. Revenge. Muahahahaha! Stick it to the rich! Steal from the robbers! Stupid libertarians calling taxation theft! Fucking idiots! Let’s steal from the rich with taxes! Taxes aren’t theft! Taxes are theft! Stupid libertarians defending the rich! Wealth apologists calling taxation theft! Taxes are only theft when they rob the rich, so libertarians love the rich! They’re evil! Aaaauuugghhh!

      *shoots self in head*

      1. *Opera Clap*

        That should at least be in the consideration for an Oscar for it’s realistic portrayal of a statist thought process.

    3. Right.
      Our beloved socialist slavers in power would agree with you as would the judicious, kind and merciful ruling elites running Cuba, North Korea and Venezuela.
      Socialism and its wise and benign policies worked wonders in the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc for decades. If those countries can make turn their counties into economic titans, just imagine what it would do here in the good ol’ USA.

      1. It’s better to be equally poor than unequally rich because it’s more fair.

  3. Alfonso told the Miami Herald that the city was “on notice” for individuals who would “challenge us in public.”

    Let a thousand flowers bloom, Alfonso.

  4. In case anyone was wondering what Alfonso looks like. Kinda looks like Jeff Garlin. You know who the plaintiffs need to hire.

  5. RE: Lawsuit Says Miami’s Airbnb Ban Violates Fundamental Rights
    The city says it will target homeowners who opposed the new rules, but some of those homeowners are fighting back.

    How dare these untermenschen question the wise and noble diktats of their obvious betters!
    Don’t these unenlightened swine realize the Miami Airbnb ban violation of fundamental rights is one of the very reasons government was established in the first place?
    Off with their heads!

  6. Mason & Dixon– In the Surveying Business Since 1763

    I didn’t realise it was this kind of surveying. But, I guess a survey is a survey, right?

  7. The government shall make no law restricting the practice of free speech.
    Imagine that an incumbent politician is campaigning along the main street and as he goes into each shop he says that the store keepers that didn’t donate to his campaign were very likely to get a city inspection and many of those stores may have to close. The court has said that campaign funding is political speech.
    I don’t see why the Justice department isn’t investigating this action by the Mayor.

  8. The government shall make no law restricting the practice of free speech.
    Imagine that an incumbent politician is campaigning along the main street and as he goes into each shop he says that the store keepers that didn’t donate to his campaign were very likely to get a city inspection and many of those stores may have to close. The court has said that campaign funding is political speech.
    I don’t see why the Justice department isn’t investigating this action by the Mayor.

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