Miami Beach has waged war against short-term rentals, according to Miami Herald staffer Chabeli Herrera, and its preferred tool to do so is a $20,000 fine.

Miami Beach’s short-term rental fines are the highest in the country and one property owner, Daniel Sehres, has been hit with three fines totaling $60,000. In order to circumvent the fines, Sehres can finish converting the home into a bed-and-breakfast, “an option available to him only because he falls into a narrow set of criteria,” Herrera reports.

But the cost to add fire sprinklers, a wheelchair ramp, impact windows and a slew of other requirements that will make the property a legal short-term rental make the fines look like chump change. When renovations are complete, Sehres expects to have paid $200,000 in upgrades.

Since raising the penalty to a flat $20,000 from a previous cost of $500 to $7,500 in late March, Miami Beach has fined residents and rental companies themselves — including Airbnb, HomeAway and Booking.com — a combined $4 million. Residents who live in areas that allow short-term rentals may also get fined if they don’t have a business tax receipt and resort tax account to operate legally. Tourists staying in illegal rentals can get evicted, but not fined.

Read more >