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Florida vacation rental murder highlights danger of ‘massive, unregulated’ industry: lawyer

A $2 million settlement and pending lawsuit in the case of a tourist killed in a carjacking at a rental community is a warning to the short-term rental industry, the victim’s mother and attorney said.

In July 2022, Jeremiah Brown was 22 years old. At the time, he, his girlfriend, and his children took a celebratory vacation from California to central Florida, where they stayed in a sprawling rental community called Champions Gate.

Unbeknownst to them, the rental property had been the target of violent criminals for months. Brown died two days after the trip, when he was shot in the ribs and thrown from the car during a carjacking, according to a police report.

“His life is just beginning,” his mother, Laurie Brown, said at a news conference announcing the settlement last week. “He came to Florida to celebrate becoming a certified forklift driver and to visit attractions and amusement parks. At the time of his death, he had not been here for two full days. .”

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Jeremiah Brown was photographed with his mother, Laurie Brown, before he was murdered on July 21, 2022. (Submitted)

The suspects, later identified as Tyrell Johnson and Jimmy Robinson III, entered the property through a broken gate, past security guards and through an exit lane, according to a police report.

According to the report, both suspects’ mobile phones shared the same location history and travel route from approximately 11:35 p.m. on July 20, 2022 to approximately 1:30 a.m. on July 21, 2022. It is said that

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This includes the time of the murder, which the report narrows down to 12:21 a.m. to 1:29 a.m. on July 21, 2022.

The suspects were charged with grand theft and accessory after the fact. Johnson pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years in prison, but Robinson’s case remains pending, according to court records.

Lowry and her attorney, Pedro Echarte, obtained a settlement from Champions Gate security company Ramco Protective of Orlando, but they said the rental community, and the industry as a whole, is bleeding.

Jeremiah Brown jokes with his mother, Lori.

Jeremiah Brown jokes with his mother, Laurie. (Submitted)

RAMCO Protective in Orlando did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment, and a representative for ChampionsGate’s rental division, which is separate from Omni ChampionsGate Resorts, could not be reached.

But Laurie and her attorney said they and the short-term rental market industry were “partly to blame” for Jeremiah’s death and that the industry needed an overhaul.

Echert told Fox News Digital that ChampionsGate “should have prioritized safety over revenue,” and accused Jeremiah and other tenants of a spike in violent crimes in and around the area. I warned you about it.

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Jeremiah Brown is pictured with his brother

Jeremiah Brown is pictured with his brother. Their mother said Jeremiah was a hard-working man who liked to joke. (Submitted)

According to police reports, Johnson was one of the victims of 11 crimes that occurred at Champions Gate between November 22, 2021, and January 3, 2022.

“They (Champions Gate) changed Jeremiah’s mind about where he would stay and withheld information that could have saved his life,” Echert said, adding that the risks of short-term rentals are not limited to Florida communities. He emphasized that no.

“This is a large, unregulated industry that operates without any real regulation.”

Airbnb could not be reached for comment.

Read the full police report

When Airbnb became popular

According to some sources, when the pandemic forced many hotels to close, short-term rental businesses like Airbnb boomed. March 2024 report by Airdna.

According to the report, they outperform hotels in average daily rate, revenue per available room, and length of stay, with demand expected to increase from 14.6% in 2023 to an estimated 15.4% in 2024.

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Market research firm Precedence Research said: February 2024 Report The global short-term rental market size is expected to exceed $112.31 billion in 2023 and reach approximately $315.18 billion by 2033.

According to Precedence Research, the U.S. market is expected to reach approximately $29.09 billion in 2023 and rapidly rise to approximately $81.63 billion by 2023.

“With the rise of online platforms and booking websites such as Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com, short-term rentals are becoming increasingly popular among travelers seeking unique and flexible lodging options,” the report said.

According to a study by Precedence Research, short-term rentals are on the rise.

According to a study by Precedence Research, short-term rentals are on the rise. (Previous research)

potential pitfalls

But short-term rentals also come with risks because there is no oversight body or uniform regulation, Echarte said, adding that potential dangers vary depending on the rental location.

He said he has a separate civil case pending in court over dozens of travelers suffering carbon monoxide poisoning at an Airbnb in Mexico.

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“I hope these companies learn from their mistakes that murder is preventable,” Rory Brown said at a press conference outside Champions Gate last week.

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