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Airbnb ramps up lobbying in Miami-Dade with poll sent to county commissioners


Airbnb's effort to legalize its transient-rental service is ramping up in Miami-Dade, with the company sending Miami-Dade commissioners a poll showing a favorable attitude toward residents charging visitors to stay in private homes on a night-by-night basis.

"This polling data is indicative of what we've found throughout Florida -- Miamians welcome and appreciate the capacity of the sharing economy to spur local economic development and enhance our status as a global tourist destination," wrote Tom Martinelli, an Airbnb lobbyist and the company's director of South Florida policy.

The August telephone and online poll of Miami-Dade likely voters reported a 52 percent favorable rating for the company, with 10 percent holding an unfavorable view. The survey focused on residents being able to earn extra money by renting to to Airbnb customers, and 65 percent found the practice "good" for Miami.

Airbnb wants county legislation legalizing its business model and allowing the company's renters to pay Miami-Dade's transient lodging tax, which is 6 percent countywide. The company faces resistance from the hotel industry and residents who have complained about the downsides of having a stream of tourists staying in nearby apartments and homes in residential neighborhoods. 

The survey did not ask about quality-of-life issues related to transient rentals. Airbnb's survey coincided with a television advertising campaign touting Airbnb's ability to increase Miami tourism while generating extra dollars for the residents renting to the company's customers. 

In his letter, Martinelli noted the survey found increased support among respondents when told Airbnb helps "residents earn an extra few thousand dollars per year to help cover expenses. The "people of Miami-Dade ...appreciate the new ability of this new platform to help their friends and neighbors make ends meet," he wrote.