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A Miami Beach property owner is accusing the city of engaging in discriminatory practices when it comes to cracking down on short-term rentals.

Natalie Nichols filed a civil rights lawsuit in Miami-Dade Circuit Court on Wednesday, alleging the city’s practice of levying five-figure fines on some residents who list their properties on Airbnb and other home-sharing websites violates the Florida Constitution.

Nichols wants a permanent injunction that would prevent the city from fining property owners like her who want to offer short-term rentals. “I feel strongly that this is a violation of my constitutional rights,” she said. “There is a silent majority in Miami Beach that want short-term rentals. But people are afraid to come forward.”

Nichols’ complaint hinges on an exception the city carved out for a section of North Beach. Specifically, properties fronting Harding Avenue from 73rd to 87th streets, including buildings east of Harding and an alley on the west side of the avenue, the lawsuit states.

In October 2016 — ten months after the city raised short-term rental fines from $1,000 a day to $20,000 for the first offense — Miami Beach made it legal for owners of historic buildings along Harding to offer short-term rentals. Preservationists and developers supported the measure, believing it would motivate property owners to renovate and maintain old buildings.

Read more here:The Real Deal

According to the Miami Association of Realtors, luxury home sales in Miami posted double-digit gains while existing condominium transactions surged year-over-year in December 2017.

Luxury ($1 million-and-above) existing Miami condo sales jumped 47.6 percent year-over-year, from 42 to 62. Luxury Miami single-family home sales rose 16.7 percent, from 60 to 70. Existing Miami condo sales increased 6.5 percent year-over-year in December, while single-family transactions stayed effectively even (down 0.7 percent).

“Strong pent-up demand for Miami luxury single-family and condominiums fueled December’s strong home sales,” said George Jalil, a Miami broker and the 2018 MIAMI chairman of the board. “Luxury sellers are becoming more realistic with their asking prices, and buyers are coming off the sidelines. Federal tax reform is also starting to have an impact as more Northeastern buyers are opting to purchase in Miami to escape the higher taxes they could face in states like New York and New Jersey.”

Federal tax reform, which was signed into law Dec. 22, 2017, sets a deductions cap for income, sales and property taxes at $10,000. The new cap could lead more residents of states with high property values and state income tax to purchase properties in states such as Florida, which has no state income tax and a pro-business tax structure.

Total Miami Home Sales, Dollar Volume Increase in December

Total existing Miami-Dade County residential sales — which posted a record year in 2013 and near record years in 2014 and 2015 — increased 2.9 percent year-over-year from 2,156 to 2,219.

Miami existing condo sales — which are competing with one of the most robust new construction markets in the country — increased 6.5 percent year-over-year, from 1,084 to 1,154. Single-family home sales decreased 0.7 percent, from 1,072 to 1,065.

Lack of access to mortgage loans continues to inhibit further growth of the existing condominium market. Of the 9,307 condominium buildings in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, only 12 are approved for Federal Housing Administration loans, down from 29 last year, according to Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and FHA.

Total sales volume for all properties accounted for $983.5 million last month, up 23.2% from $797.9 million a year ago. Sales don’t include Miami’s multi-billion dollar new construction condo market.    Click Here to Read More on World Property Journal

After a recent bout of heavy rains, some Mid-Miami Beach homeowners say city sea level mitigation plans could make things worse.

Two weeks ago, developer Matis Cohen was busy helping motorists push their stranded cars as waist-high water flushed through the streets of Miami Beach. Unlike many residents who were hunkered down at home or at work as more than six inches of rain flooded the city in two hours, Cohen was out in the streets, checking on tenants of his rental properties.

Cohen, who said he was lucky to have a Jeep, wants the city to speed up its plans to raise streets and install pumps. “We’ve spent somewhere around $80 million so far out of a $400 million plan, and clearly a system cannot be judged if it is only 15-percent implemented,” he added. Click Here to Read More on The Real Deal