The living room is where “most of the chaos goes down.” The bar is a must-have for the heavy drinkers, which is to say the whole group. And the view, well, grab your tanning lotion Toto because we are not in Jersey anymore.
These features and more — nine bedrooms, including a “smush room,” 11 bathrooms and an infinity pool — are critical components of a good “Jersey Shore” house, the mansion where most of the debauchery goes down in MTV’s smash reality show that first premiered in 2009.
Lucky for the cast, they got just that in a Miami Beach villa on Pine Tree Drive, where they filmed the spin-off to their hit show, “Jersey Shore: Family Vacation,” from Jan. 10 to Feb. 17, according to a city permit.
One problem though: The home, at 4745 Pine Tree, is a short-term rental listed on HomeAway and VRBO and located in an area of the city where such rentals — for less than six months and a day — are illegal. One VRBO listing says the rental is also available on a six-month and a day lease, but the cast of “Jersey Shore” stayed there for about a month.
The fine for those caught renting short-term in areas where the practice is illegal on Miami Beach is $20,000.
No city in the nation imposes a greater penalty on illegal vacation rentals than the island city, yet the city still OK’d a film and print permit for the Jersey Shore production. It also sent a police officer along to make sure everything ran smoothly.
According to the permit, filming at the home on Pine Tree was allowed to move forward per a “private arrangement” that included signature approval from affected neighbors, and with the agreement that filming could go beyond the allowable days and times. The filming crew must also adhere to several rules: No parking on the swale, no blocking traffic lanes and no drone usage without the police officer present and without notification to neighbors. Crew must also respect the city’s noise ordinance.
City spokeswoman Tonya Daniels said at the time that the production company, Burbank-based 495 Productions, requested the permit, the city searched its database to see if the requested property had any violations against it. It found none.
“It’s not always easy to find the illegal short-term rental address or properties,” she said. “There is no 100 percent fail-proof guaranteed way for us to check if this is an illegal short-term rental.”
On rental sites like Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO, listings rarely give an address. That information is usually communicated directly with the renter after purchase. Without any proof that the home was a short-term rental, the city moved ahead with the permit.
It also got 90 percent of the residents in the area to agree to the show filming at the Pine Tree Drive home, Daniels said.
Since the show filmed — it’s now airing episodes through May 31 — the city has received three complaints from residents between April 6 and 8 claiming the home was a short-term rental, but no fine was issued. The home is not listed as having a license to operate a legal vacation rental.
On Thursday, after the Miami Herald asked questions about the home and the permit, the city imposed a fine on the “Jersey Shore” cast’s villa, which is booked through May 2020 with a nightly rate of about $8,840.Related content
The home’s owner, James Wieger, declined to comment when contacted by the Herald.
Since raising the short-term rental fine to $20,000 in late March, Miami Beach has aggressively policed the rentals, arguing they compromise the quality of its residential neighborhoods and attract a party crowd.
The fines are even more onerous than those in New York City, where the city council is planning a crackdown on Airbnb, the leader in the short-term rental space. In New York, fees can range from $1,000 to $7,500 — less than half of what a first offense costs in Miami Beach.
Cracking down on vacation rentals has been lucrative for Miami Beach. In the past two years, fines have totaled $11.5 million.