Florida’s vacation rental market with its estimated 400,000 units is considerable in size and the largest in the United States. Over 45,000 Airbnb hosts and numerous vacation rental companies cater for over 126 million visitors each year. With 43 lucrative vacation rental markets and consistently good weather, the sunshine state is a popular holiday destination and a near safe-bet for anyone wanting to invest in short-term rentals in the US, according to AirDNA.
Today on the CertiStay blog, we are speaking to Denis Hanks, Executive Director of the Florida Vacation Rental Management Association (FVRMA). He has been leading the membership organization since 2014 and is an expert in the Florida vacation rental industry.
1. Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for the CertiStay blog. First, of all what does the FVRMA do?
Thank you for having me on the blog! I am the Executive Director of the Florida Vacation Rental Management Association, which educates, advocates, and supports the Florida vacation rental market through lobbying, publications, and industry events.
We started as a fully volunteer-run operation over 25 years ago and have now grown into the largest state-wide vacation rental association in the United States today. We currently support hundreds of vacation rental owners, managers, and industry partners that operate tens of thousands of Florida homes.
2. Can you tell us how important the vacation rental industry is to the state?
Visit Florida, the state’s marketing agency for tourism, identified that almost 50% of Florida’s 126 million tourists annually stay in something other than a hotel. In a 2019 polling by Mason-Dixon, 93% of Floridians said that the short-term rental industry was “very” to “somewhat important” for the local economy. I agree and believe that the vacation rental industry is vital to Florida’s economy. With a $31 billion dollar per year economic impact, our industry delivers state and local governments with huge benefits in terms of jobs and taxes, and at least 300,000 people alone are directly working in the vacation rental industry in Florida.
3. Are we seeing more rentals on the market in Florida? What is the growth like?
The new home vacation rental market continues to grow while second homes continue to be sold and or converted as short term rentals. In the central Florida market alone we currently see over 4,000 dedicated vacation rental homes being built in resort style communities. Some of these communities have built-in major amenities such as water parks, bowling alleys and other in-home features. Many of these properties are spacious enough to hold large families supporting the “generational travel” market with some of them being as large as 14,000 square feet.
4. What are the main challenges facing the Florida vacation rental industry in the next 5 years?
Local regulations continue to hamper the Florida market because city and county leaders are trying to control the use of residential homes as a vacation rental, even though a recent polling has found that 93% of people living in Florida support short-term rentals. It is no surprise that many jurisdictions lawsuits and litigation exist, since restricting vacation rentals in residential homes is an infringement on homeowners’ private property rights. These rights are stated in the constitution. We, as the Florida VRMA, invest a third of our resources into lobbying and legislative advocacy to educate policy makers on the positive impact of vacation rentals on the state’s economy.
5. What importance does providing safe and secure vacation homes play for VRMs in Florida?
Safety and security in vacation rentals continues to be a priority. Organizations like the Florida VRMA have developed educational programs with industry experts to educate owners and managers about the best practices in operating a successful and safe rentals. No other state-wide association offers the comprehensive training that we do for vacation rental owners and operators.