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Hosting an Illegal Airbnb Can Cost You

It's no secret that Miami Beach is a hot spot for vacationers from all over the world, and cashing in on those tourism dollars is a great way to supplement ones income. For those considering hosting an Airbnb rental, make sure you're going through the proper channels, because the city is cracking down on illegal Airbnb hosts - there's even the possibility of jail time for those who violate the terms that have been recently put into place.


According to the Airbnb guidelines set by city officials and the popular home-sharing platform, in order to legally operate an Airbnb within your property you must have the proper business licenses and a resort tax registration certificate that must be cited on your Airbnb online listing. Airbnb is unable to verify these numbers, but law enforcement has the right to do unannounced visits to each property to ensure validity. Code enforcement will be policing the city and doing routine checks at various listings to check on the accuracy of the posted licenses. Hosts who provide fake business license information listed on Airbnb can be prosecuted by the city.

What Happens If You Illegally Host an Airbnb? 

Along with possible jail time (approximately 60 days), there are some very hefty fines involved in illegally short term rentals being hosted on the Airbnb site. If the office of special enforcement knocks on the door and discovers lack of proper licenses, the first violation's fine is $20,000, a second violation results in a $40,000 fine, and any violation after that is an additional $20,000. An article in the Miami Herald stated, "The city licenses fewer than 1,000 short-term rentals, but approximately 4,500 entire homes are advertised on Airbnb, according to data from BNBVestor, an analytics tool for investors that scrapes the Airbnb site." That's a significant number of properties that don't have the proper license to host visitors.

If you or someone you know are a property owner facing charges due to hosting an Airbnb without the proper licenses, you might want to consider reaching out to an experienced criminal defense attorney for help. Give Russell Spatz a call today. He's based in South Florida and has over four decades of experience in these types of cases. Russell Spatz is just a quick phone call away at (305) 442-0200.




Dolven, Taylor. "The Punishment for Running an Illegal Airbnb in Miami Beach Is Likely to Get a Lot Worse." Miamiherald, Miami Herald,


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