In a lawsuit filed in Miami federal court on Friday, Airbnb argued that a city ordinance restricting how short-term rentals are advertised online violates a federal law that says websites are not responsible for policing the content on their platforms.
The ordinance, passed last September, went into effect Dec. 21. The new rules require rental platforms to only post listings that include business license and resort tax registration numbers — information proving that the property owner has registered with the city. Otherwise, platforms face fines of $1,000 for a first offense and up to $5,000 for repeated violations.
But the ordinance created an exemption for platforms that agree to use a technology known as “geo-fencing” or “geo-coding” to block property owners from listing properties located within a prohibited area. Platforms can qualify for the exemption by submitting a monthly certificate to Miami Beach verifying that the geofencing or geocoding is active and effective, according to the ordinance. Miami Beach prohibits rentals of six months or less in most residential areas, but allows them in a few sections of the city.