CNBC is reporting that property owners in Miami Beach, FL are facing huge fines resulting from tenants illegally listing their units on short-term rental site Airbnb. As if that weren’t enough, some tenants were changing locks and making other physical alterations to accommodate its use as a short-term rental. The story gets more interesting when a justifiably upset owner challenges Airbnb who in turn said it wasn’t responsible to determine if properties were legally allowed to be on their site. Making matters worse, they were slow to remove the illegal listings from their site after it was brought to their attention. As for the fines, CNBC reports that “fines for violations are typically high” and in Miami Beach “fines run at $20,000 for a first violation and rise from there.” This situation is a good illustration about not only being vigilant with your tenant screening but also actively managing your properties.
When the first notice arrived on Jan. 19, Grewal thought the city of Miami Beach must be mistaken. He hadn’t used Airbnb as a host in years. Then it dawned on him that his long-term tenants might be responsible, despite a clause in their lease barring them from using his place for transient occupancy.An agent checked up on the property for him and confirmed his suspicions. The yard had been trashed, with some patio furniture shredded. Somebody had installed electronic locks — presumably so guests could check in and out.